World Leaders Mourn Assassinated Former Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo

A photo of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is displayed on the screen as Mexican Presid
Moises Castillo/AP

World leaders expressed shock and grief at the loss of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on Friday following his public assassination during a political rally.

Japan’s international news service NHK reported early in the morning that Abe, 67, was shot during a speech in the city of Nara, near Kyoto, while campaigning for candidates in the upcoming Upper House election. Reuters reported that a 41-year-old man named Yamagami Tetsuya was arrested following the shooting.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro released a statement following Abe’s death, calling him a “great friend of Brazil” and decreeing an official mourning period in the country of three days.

“I receive with extreme indignation and sorrow the news of the death of [Abe Shinzo], a brilliant leader and great friend of Brazil,” Bolsonaro wrote.

“I extend to Abe’s family, as well as to our Japanese brothers and sisters, my solidarity and the wish that God takes care of their souls in this moment of pain,” he said in part. “May your murder be severely punished. We are with Japan.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced that Saturday would be a day of national mourning for Abe’s death, ABC News reported.

“Mr. Abe made an immense contribution to elevating India-Japan relations to the level of a special strategic and global partnership. Today, whole India mourns with Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this difficult moment,” Modi said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry called Abe’s assassination “an act of terrorism” and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s office called the shooting “an intolerable criminal act.”

Both Taiwan’s government and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also released statements, Indonesia lamenting Abe’s “untimely demise.” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen described Abe’s assassination as an “indescribable shock.” 

“The news of the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has given me an indescribable shock. The Taiwanese people are also in deep sorrow,” Ing-wen said. “I believed that I would see Dr. Abe again in Taiwan. However, an unforgivable violence has robbed him of his precious life.”

Leftist president of Chile Gabriel Boric Font extended his condolences to “all the people of Japan for” Abe’s “horrible murder.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a statement saying, “this heinous act of violence has no excuse.”

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro made an appearance on social media on Friday but notably omitted any mention of Abe, instead posting, “Happy Friday!” before posting other political content.

Other leaders also released statements following Abe’s death. Leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country has “lost a close friend.”

“My thoughts are with his wife, Akie, and the people of Japan as they mourn this loss. You’ll be missed, my friend,” Trudeau wrote. 

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who just announced he will be stepping down following months of scandals, lauded Abe’s leadership “through uncharted times.”

The prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia, Jacinda Ardern and Anthony Albanese, extended “deepest sympathies” to Abe’s family.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany will “stand closely by Japan’s side in these difficult hours.”

President Joe Biden belatedly released a statement saying he is “stunned” and “outraged,” before using his death to again condemn “gun violence.”

“While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief. I send my deepest condolences to his family,” Biden said in part.


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