Shinzo Abe is in critical condition after being shot at a campaign speech in western Japan, local media and officials say. Police detain suspected attacker.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has been attacked and left bleeding at a campaign event in the Nara region, local media and officials reported.

Several outlets including the Kyodo news agency said on Friday the ex-premier had been attacked, with both Kyodo and public broadcaster NHK reporting the sound of an apparent gunshot.

Abe collapsed unconscious and first responders took him to the hospital, media reported, adding Abe was bleeding from his neck while authorities said that he was in cardio-respiratory arrest.

"A local fire department says former prime minister Abe appears to be in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest," public broadcaster NHK said –– a term used in Japan before a feared death can be confirmed by a doctor.

Later, the Japanese government confirmed Abe had been shot in the western region of Nara.

"Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 am [local time] in Nara. One man, believed to be the shooter, has been taken into custody. The condition of former prime minister Abe is currently unknown," chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

The NHK broadcaster aired footage showing Abe collapsed on the street, with several security guards running toward him.

Abe was holding his chest when he collapsed, with his shirt smeared with blood.

Police detained a 42-year-old male suspect along with a gun at the scene, NHK said, citing police sources.


This is a developing story..