The World Reacts to Shinzo Abe's Assassination

A 'dark day for Japanese democracy'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2022 6:36 AM CDT
The World Reacts to Shinzo Abe's Assassination
Members of the media report from the scene where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot while delivering a speech to support the Liberal Democratic Party's candidate during an election campaign in Nara, western Japan Friday, July 8, 2022.   (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

World leaders are expressing sadness, shock, and outrage at the assassination of a man many of them knew personally—Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister. Abe, who resigned in 2020, was fatally shot while delivering a speech at a campaign event in western Japan Friday. Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott described Abe as Japan's most significant postwar leader, the BBC reports. "This is a dreadful loss for Japan, for Australia, and for a world where democracies stand strong and together," said Abbott, who worked closely with the Japanese leader. More:

  • "A dear friend." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the "heinous attack" on his "dear friend." In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe." Iran's foreign ministry condemned what it called an "act of terrorism."

  • A "dark day for Japanese democracy." In Europe, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he was "shocked by the terrible attack, which affects Japan, its free democratic debate." In the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutt said a cabinet meeting "paused to reflect on this dark day for Japanese democracy," the New York Times reports. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the "heinous attack."
  • China distances itself from online remarks. Abe, a conservative nationalist, was a very controversial figure in China, but Beijing distanced itself Friday from remarks made by nationalists online, where the assassination was one of the leading topics and some people called the shooter a "hero," the Guardian reports. Foreign ministry officials said Beijing was "shocked" by the shooting and it "should not be linked to Sino-Japanese relations."

  • "Events like this shake us all to the core." Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's prime minister, said Abe was one of the first leaders she met after taking office, and she remembers him as generous and kind, the AP reports. "I recall him asking after the recent loss of our pet when I met him, a small gesture but one that speaks to the kind of person he is," she said. "Events like this shake us all to the core."
  • "An act of cowardly barbarism." Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, praised Abe's achievements and vowed that free elections would be protected. "An act of cowardly barbarism has stolen Prime Minister Abe’s life," he said, per the Times. "It is absolutely unallowable, and I once again condemn it with the strongest words.”
  • Bullet penetrated Abe's heart. Hidetada Fukushima at Nara Medical University Hospital said a bullet penetrated Abe's heart. He received more than 100 units of blood in transfusions over four hours, but doctors were unable to stop the bleeding, reports Reuters. Fukushima said Abe arrived at the hospital in cardiopulmonary arrest.

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  • Abe's legacy. The Washington Post looks at the legacy left by Abe, whose Liberal Democratic party has long dominated Japanese politics. Abe, who was in power from 2006 to 2007 and then from 2012 to 2020, sought to revive Japan's economy after a long period of stagnation and make the country a more assertive international player, though relations with China and South Korea deteriorated significantly during his time in power.
  • The suspected assassin. Tetsuya Yamagam, 41, was arrested at the scene and an apparently homemade shotgun was seized, Reuters reports. According to reports in local media, the suspect, who served for three years in the military, told police he was dissatisfied with Abe.
(Read more Shinzo Abe stories.)

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