WWorld leaders paid tribute to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he was shot dead while campaigning for his political allies on Friday morning.
read more: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been shot dead. What we know so far
A teary-eyed Fumio Kishida, Japan’s current prime minister, condemned the assassination when he appeared before Japanese journalists after the news of Abe’s death. Kishida described Abe as a “personal friend” with whom he spent a lot of End-shutdown.
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 recalled how he visited Abe on his most recent trip to Japan, noting that he did not expect this meeting to be the last.
Abe had taken great steps to improve diplomatic relations between Japan and India during his tenure, including signing a historic civil nuclear deal in 2016.
in a statementsUS President Joe Biden said he was “stunned, outraged and deeply saddened” by the news. “The longest-serving Japanese prime minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure.” but encouraged strong ties with Washington in his government of almost a decade.
European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, also shared their condolences. “We were closely by Japan’s side in these difficult hours”, Scholz tweeted. “Japan has lost a great prime minister”, Macron saying.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, denounced the “cowardly” attack on Abe, whom he called “a true friend” and a “fierce defender of the multilateral order and democratic values”. The European Union is an important 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 US, and Australia that facilitated security and economic cooperation.
Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that Abe’s “global leadership” will be remembered. “The UK is with you at this dark and sad End-shutdown,” he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sent his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family and to Kishida in a tweet. Although Japan is not a member of NATO, Abe paved the way for a stronger association with the transatlantic alliance.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Japan expressed shock at Abe’s murder. in a sentence and extended condolences to his family. During his tenure as prime minister, Abe tried to improve relations between Japan and China, but his comments last year about taiwan independence received criticism from Beijing.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen said in a statement that “the international community has lost an important leader, but Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend. Taiwan and Japan are democratic countries with the rule of law, and our government strongly condemns violent and illegal acts.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol sent his condolences to the Japanese people, condemning the shooting as “an unforgivable criminal act.”
Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister before resigning in 2020 due to ill health. However, he has remained one of the most influential political figures in contemporary Japan.
On the streets of Tokyo, locals expressed their disbelief. “The shooting of a prominent figure like Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, is deeply shocking,” Kanae Hayakawa, a 36-year-old office worker, told TIME. “And now I am afraid that the fact that such an incident has occurred here in Japan reflects the social instability and people’s discontent with society. I really hope the shooting incident doesn’t trigger more instability here. And I also wonder how the incident will affect the choice on Sunday.”
— With reporting by Mayako Shibata in Tokyo and Eloise Barry in London
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