Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed deep distress at the attack on former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who is in a critical condition after being shot during a campaign speech in western Japan.

The former Japanese PM was airlifted to a hospital but he was not breathing and his heart had stopped, officials in Japan said.

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“Deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

Shinzo Abe was known to be a conservative by political ideology. He had been described by commentators as a right-wing Japanese nationalist. He was a member of Nippon Kaigi, a group that denies several key aspects of Japanese history, including the recruitment of ‘comfort women’ during World War 2. 

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Shinzo Abe came from a wealthy political family. His father was a foreign minister. His great-uncle was also Japan’s prime minister. 

On Friday, the former Japanese PM was shot at in western Japan. He was rushed to the hospital, where he reportedly showed “no vital signs.”

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Abe collapsed and was bleeding after apparently being shot during a campaign speech in western Japan, NHK public television said Friday.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots in the apparent attack in Nara. He was standing while making an election campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s election for the parliament’s upper house.