Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe killed while giving speech

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot while giving a speech in the western city of Nara.

The 67-year-old was shot in the neck which damaged an artery.

He had no vital signs on arrival and was never revived after suffering major damage to his heart.

More than 100 units of blood were given during four hours of blood transfusions as Mr Abe haemorrhaged.

The former PM was shot from behind with what appeared to be a homemade gun.

It is the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since the 1930s.

Mr Abe held his chest as he collapsed, his shirt smeared with blood. State broadcaster NHK showed footage of security guards running towards him.

A puff of white smoke was seen as he made a campaign speech outside a railway station ahead of elections to Japan’s upper house on Sunday.

A reporter at the scene said they heard two consecutive bangs during Mr Abe’s address.

The shooter, Yamagami Tetsuya, was tackled and arrested.

Dressed in a grey t-shirt and beige trousers, pictures from the scene show him being wrestled to the ground by police officers.

video appears to show the 41-year-old shooter, moments before the shooting took place.

Tetsuya, who served in the Japanese Navy, is said to live in Nara City and possible explosives have been found at his home.

The suspect allegedly told officers he was unhappy with Mr Abe and intended to kill him, NHK added

Earlier, current prime minister Fumio Kishida said that while “everything that can be done is being done”, Mr Abe was in a “grave condition”.

Mr Kishida added that the “act of brutality” was “absolutely unforgivable”. He has asked all members of the cabinet to return to Tokyo.

The prime minister said a free and fair election is something that must be defended at all costs, and that campaigning will continue on Saturday.

Mr Kishida said he had great respect for Mr Abe’s legacy.

‘Absolutely unforgivable, no matter what the reasons are’

“A barbaric act like this is absolutely unforgivable, no matter what the reasons are, and we condemn it strongly,” chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.

Political violence is rare in Japan, which has strict gun regulations.