Three people have been killed in a stabbing and shooting attack in central Japan, local media say.
A man in camouflage is said to have stabbed a woman and then used a hunting rifle in the city of Nakano, Nagano prefecture. Two policemen were also killed, and another person was injured.
The alleged attacker is holed inside a building, Japanese media report.
According to Japanese news agency, Kyodo, police received a call at around 16:25 (07:25 GMT) about a man who had chased and then stabbed a woman. The man allegedly shot police officers who responded to the emergency.
He was said to have barricaded himself inside a building believed to be the residence of the Nakano city assembly speaker.
Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and his death profoundly shocked a country where handguns are banned and incidents of political violence are almost unheard of.
In 2014, there were just six incidents of gun deaths in Japan, compared to 33,599 in the US. People have to undergo a strict exam and mental health tests in order to buy a gun. Even then, only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.
Since the news broke of Shinzo Abe’s assassination, messages have been pouring in from friends and contacts, all asking the same question: how could this have happened in Japan?
“I felt much the same myself. Living here you get used to not thinking about violent crime. The identity of the victim only makes the news more shocking.”
Shinzo Abe may no longer be Japan’s prime minister, but he’s still a huge figure in Japanese public life, and probably the most recognisable Japanese politician of the last three decades.Who would want to kill Abe? And why?
“I’m trying to think of an equivalent – of another act of political violence that would be similarly shocking to the local population.
The one that comes to mind is the shooting of Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, in 1986.