Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died in hospital on Friday after being shot at a political campaign rally in an attack condemned as “absolutely unforgivable”.
The attack caused international shock. World leaders past and present have expressed their shock and sadness following Abe’s death.
“This is a very, very sad moment,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters at a G20 meeting in Bali United States was “deeply saddened and deeply concerned”.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha was “extremely shocked” by Abe’s shooting, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply dismayed”. through the news.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, served for a year in 2006 and again from 2012 to 2020, when he was forced to resign due to a debilitating bowel disease, ulcerative colitis.
He’s a hard-line conservative who pushed for the revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution to recognize the country’s military, and has remained a prominent political figure even after his resignation.
Japan has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world and annual gun deaths in the country of 125 million people are regularly in the single digits.
Obtaining a gun license is a long and complicated process for Japanese citizens, who first seek a recommendation from a shooting club and then has to undergo strict police checks.
Japan “hasn’t seen anything like this in well over 50 to 60 years,” said Corey Wal lace, an assistant professor at Kanagawa University who focuses on Japanese politics, told AFP.
He said the last similar incident was probably the 1960 assassination of Inejiro Asanuma, leader of the Japan Socialist Party , who was stabbed to death by a right-wing youth.
“But two days before an election by a (man) so prominent.. . it’s really deeply saddening and shocking.”
He also noted that Japanese politicians and voters are used to a personal and up-close campaign style.
“This could really change.”< /p>
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Friday that she was appalled by the attack on the news that Shinzo Abe has been shot dead,” she tweeted from a G20 meeting in Bali. “My thoughts are with him and his family.”
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who for several years who had frequent contact with Abe while both were still in office, said she was “dismayed” by the news of the “horrific attack on my longtime colleague”.
“Our working relationship has been close and trusting, i always enjoyed working with him,” she said in a statement released before Japanese media took over Abe’s death was reported by his wounds.
“My thoughts are with him, his wife and his entire family right now,” said Merkel.
The Kremlin said it was saddened by the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and hailed him as a “patriot”.
“We are deeply saddened by the news from Japan,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said shortly after a Japanese hospital confirmed Abe was pronounced dead after he was shot dead at a campaign rally. “Abe was truly a patriot of Japan.”
“The brutal and cowardly murder” of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “shocks the world” , EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on Friday.
“I will never understand the brutal murder of this great man,” said EU Council President Charles Michel in a separate tweet.
“Japan, Europeans mourn with you,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday hailed the leadership he has assumed the assassinated Japanese leader and said the UK stands with Japan “at this dark and sad time”.
“Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through uncharted times will be remembered by many,” Johnson tweeted.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened about the heinous murder”.
Stoltenberg tweeted that Abe was “a defender of democracy and my friend and colleague ov er many years”. He expressed his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family, current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and “the people of NATO partner Japan at this difficult time”.
– Compiled by Hellen Githaiga, The East African