From the moment word first broke that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — perhaps the country’s most important political force — had been shot while campaigning, AP Tokyo dominated international coverage with fast, comprehensive and exclusive content on one of Japan’s biggest stories in years.
The Tokyo bureau and colleagues at AP’s Bangkok hub moved lightning-quick alerts and updates as soon as Abe’s shooting was confirmed. AP beat other agencies and international news outlets on urgent developments throughout the day, including the crucial word that Abe had died. AP was live with video from the scene of the shooting within minutes of the announcement of Abe’s death, offering customers a window into events an hour before the competition.
Text and video obituaries were equally fast, also ahead of competitors. Customers noticed the speed, and AP’s all-formats coverage was widely used.
AP quickly secured video and photos of the attack, including a powerful NHK video that shows the moment Abe was shot and the attacker detained, as well as strong user-generated content showing the aftermath of the attack. AP again beat other agencies with its live shot from outside the hospital in Nara, where the shooting occurred.
Following the breaking news, spot enterprise stories soon turned to Abe's powerful and divisive place in Japan and Asia, how the shooting was shaking the country’s sense of democracy, the unusual fact that a homemade gun was used in a country with virtually no gun crime, questions over possible security lapses, Abe’s role shepherding the Olympics to Tokyo and more.
For days, AP’s coverage featured prominently even on major Japanese news sites, including Kyodo, Yomiuri, Asahi and Sankei, often as an example of the way foreign media was covering the story. AP reporters were interviewed by the BBC and other international news organizations.