Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, 67, has been assassinated while giving a campaign speech in southern Japan
Shinzo Abe was Japan’s longest serving prime minister and stepped down in 2020 after a second term.
But, he still had a huge influence over the current administration – for example when Russia invaded Ukraine, Abe came out and said Japan need to increase military spending.
It came as a huge shock when we first heard the news that he had been shot at around 11:30 local time this morning in the city of Nara.
Japan has a parliamentary election coming up this Sunday and that is why he was out on the streets giving a speech supporting one of the candidates in the city.
Apparently that visit was only confirmed late last night so how the suspect managed to find out about this and prepare remains an open question.
This kind of violence is extremely rare in Japan.
Tributes from world leaders
“Horror,” “shocking”: from Asia to the West, world leaders reacted with shock and outrage to Friday’s shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who died of injuries.
“This is a very, very sad moment,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters at a G20 meeting in Bali, saying the United States was “deeply saddened and deeply concerned.” Earlier, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel paid tribute to Abe, “an outstanding leader of Japan and a steadfast ally of the United States,” according to a statement.
“We are monitoring the situation and hope (he) is taken out of danger and recovers as soon as possible,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said before the death was announced. He said how “shocked” China was and expressed his “sympathy” to the family.
Russia denounced “a monstrous crime” and an “act of terrorism that has and can have no justification,” according to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Secretary General of NATO, of which Japan is not a member but a partner, said he was “deeply shocked”. “Nato stands with the people of our close partner, Japan,” tweeted Jens Stoltenberg.