WAfter Shinzo Abe was shot and killed while campaigning to support his political allies, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo abe was remembered by the old leaders.
Continue reading: Shinzo Abe, a former Japanese prime minister, was shot and killed. Here’s What We Know
A teary-eyed Fumio Kishida, Japan’s current prime minister, condemned the assassination when he appeared before Japanese reporters following news of Abe’s death. Kishida described Abe as a “personal friend” with whom he spent a lot of time.
Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, a good friend of Abe’s, announced that July 9 will be a national day of mourning in India as a mark of “deep respect” for the late Japanese leader. Modi spoke of his visit to Abe on the last trip to Japan and said that it was not something he expected.
Abe’s tenure saw him make great efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with India and Japan, such as the 2016 signing of a landmark civil nuclear deal.
European Council President Charles Michel decried the “cowardly” attack on Abe, whom he called “a true friend” and a “fierce defender of multilateral order and democratic values.” The European Union is a major trade and investment partner of Japan.
In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Abe was one of Australia’s “closest friends on the world stage.” During his first term in 2007, Abe initiated a four-way alliance between Japan, India, the U.S., and Australia that facilitated security and economic cooperation.
Outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that Abe’s “global leadership” will be remembered. “The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time,” he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sent his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family and to Kishida in a tweet. Although Japan isn’t a NATO member country, Abe helped to build a more solid partnership with the transatlantic alliance.
A spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in Japan expressed shock about Abe’s assassination in a statement and extended condolences to his family. During his premiership, Abe tried to improve relations between Japan and China, but his comments last year about Taiwan’s independence drew criticism from Beijing.
Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister before stepping down in 2020 due to ill health. He is still one of the most powerful figures in Japanese politics today.
Locals in Tokyo expressed shock at the incident. “The shooting of a prominent figure like Shinzo Abe, longest-serving prime minister in Japan, is profoundly shocking,” Kanae Hayakawa, a 36-year-old office worker, told TIME. “And now I’m afraid—the fact that such incident took place here in Japan reflects social instability and people’s discontent with society. The shooting incident is unlikely to cause further instability. And I also wonder how the incident will impact the election on Sunday.”
— Tokyo, Mayako Shibata reporting
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