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Japan votes for key election in shadow of Abe assassination

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese went to the polls yesterday in the shadow of the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was gunned down while making a campaign speech. Abe’s party appeared to be cruising to a major victory.

As people voted, police in western Japan sent the alleged assassin to a local prosecutors’ office for further investigation.

A day earlier a top regional police official acknowledged possible security lapses that allowed the attacker to get so close and fire a bullet at the still-influential former Japanese leader.

In a country still recovering from the shock, sadness and fear of Abe’s shooting – the first former or serving leader to be assassinated in post-war Japan – polling started for half of the Upper House, the less powerful of Japan’s two-chamber Parliament.

Abe was shot in Nara on Friday and airlifted to a hospital but died of blood loss. Police arrested a former member of Japan’s navy at the scene. Police confiscated a homemade gun and several others were later found at his apartment.

A voter casts a ballot at a polling station in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP