Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan, is assassinated during a campaign rally

Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister, was shot to death at a rally on Friday.

08 July 2022 Friday 14:19
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Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan, is assassinated during a campaign rally

Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister, was shot to death at a rally on Friday. He was a nationalist and served in that position longer than anyone before stepping down in 2020.

The suspect gunman was confronted by security at the attack scene and taken into custody by police. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world and has the most stringent gun control laws. The shooting shocked many.

Fumio Kishida, the current Japanese Prime Minister, stated that it was barbaric and can't be tolerated.

According to police, Tetsuya Yamagami (41), fired two shots at Abe while he was giving a speech in Nara. Although the first shot was missed, the second struck Abe's neck and chest, killing him several hours later.

Yamagami, who was unemployed and a former member Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, was said to have attacked Abe because he thought he was associated to a Yamagami group. Yamagami later discovered multiple handmade guns at his home.

Abe, 67 years old, was prime minister from 2006 to 2007, as well as again from 2012 through 2020. He abruptly resigned due to health concerns. He remained an influential member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and a major force in Japan's political landscape, even though he was forced to resign.

Biden released a statement saying he was shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by the assassination. He called Abe his friend. His vision of an Indo-Pacific free and open to all will not be lost.

Later, President Biden stated that he would visit the Japanese Embassy in Washington on Friday afternoon and sign a book of condolences.

Antony Blinken is Secretary of State and is currently in Asia to meet with Group of 20 foreign ministers. He called the assassination "profoundly troubling" and described Abe's leadership as one of great vision.

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Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, described Abe as a "towering global statesman", an outstanding leader and a remarkable administrator. On Twitter, he stated that India would observe a day for national mourning on July 9.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Abe an "outstanding stateman" and Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister, described him as Japan's "most important post-war leader".

Abe was prime minister and worked to strengthen Japan's military and counter China's increasing clout. He also sought to reform and boost the economy through a program known as "Abenomics."

Abe's tenure saw the reform of immigration policy. Female labor force participation increased, and Japan unexpectedly experienced healthy growth.

Michael Green, an ex-member of the George W. Bush national security council staff who was closely involved with Abe, stated that Abe was the most influential leader modern Japan had ever seen. His vision of putting Japan on the geopolitical map inspired loyalty from the entire country's bureaucracy as well as elected officials.

Green said that he believes his legacy was profound. "There are no Japanese political figures advocating for a change of direction other than tactical changes from the one Abe set up when he was prime Minister."

Green stated that Abe was able to hold the country together during times when the U.S. appeared unsure about its position in the region in recent years.

He said that Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This was a major trade pact for Asia. Abe took over and continued it. He urged the U.S. not to withdraw. Abe was the peacemaker when the Trump administration was at war with Europe at G7 summits. ... He really did step up to strengthen the international order, which America helped to create, as China asserted itself.

His most beloved political goal and that of his party, to revise Japan’s post-World War II constitution, was ultimately abandoned. Abe suggested revisions that would increase the government's emergency powers while diminishing the importance of human rights. Abe felt that the U.S.-backed constitution imposed political values on Japan that were contrary to Japan's traditional values, such as reverence and respect for the Emperor.

Abe was able to pass 2015 legislation that allows Japan's military expand its overseas operations in support of allies including the United States.

Most Japanese dissatisfied his handling of the coronavirus outbreak felt he was too slow to declare a state emergency, mainly because he worried about the economy.

Abe has been more vocal in his criticism of China in recent months. He called for the United States to abandon its long-standing practice in "strategic uncertainty" and gave assurances to Taiwan that it could count upon American assistance in the event China attacks.

China was also offended by his statement that "a Taiwan contingency IS a Japan contingency" and that Japan would be impossible to avoid getting involved in a conflict over an island Beijing considers part of China.

This report was contributed by Jackie Northam of NPR and Christopher Dean Hopkins.



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