Ex Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has collapsed after he was shot at an event in the city of Nara.
Mr Abe was shot twice, with the second shot hitting him in the back, causing him to fall to the ground. Reports say his attacker has since been arrested.
Ex-Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe said in a tweet that the 67-year-old Mr Abe was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.
The term is often used before a death is officially confirmed in Japan.
“Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 local time (02:30 GMT) 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.
“Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated, and we strongly condemn it.”
Videos circulating on social media, which could not be verified, appear to show paramedics huddled around Mr Abe in the middle of a street. He has now reportedly been taken to hospital.
Mr Abe was giving a stump speech for a candidate in Nara when the attack happened – eye-witnesses say they saw a man with what they described as a large gun fire from behind.
The first shot appears to have missed but the second shot hit Mr Abe in the back. He immediately fell to the ground bleeding. Security then detained the attacker who made no attempt to run.
Local news broadcaster NHK said Mr Abe was “conscious and responsive” while being transported after the shooting, citing police sources. The broadcaster also added that police have seized the attacker’s gun and identified him.
Local media reports say the attacker is believed to be a former member of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, the local equivalent of a navy.
Mr Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, held office in 2006 for a year and then again from 2012 to 2020, before stepping down citing health reasons. He later revealed that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease.