Assassination of Japanese Shinzo Abe stuns world leaders | Health, Medicine and Fitness
By EILEEN NG – Associated Press
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Friday’s clash assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in one of the world’s safest countries stunned leaders and was condemned, with Iran calling it an “act of terrorism” while Spain denounced the “cowardly attack”.
Abe, 67, was shot from behind in Nara, western Japan, while delivering a campaign speech. He was airlifted to hospital but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was later pronounced dead in hospital. Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader before stepping down in 2020 for health reasons.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who hastily returned to Tokyo after campaign events across the country, called the shooting “despicable and barbaric”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers at a trilateral meeting in Bali, said Abe’s assassination was “deeply disturbing” and a “personal loss for so many people”.
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“For the United States, Prime Minister Abe was an amazing partner and someone who was clearly a great leader for Japan and the Japanese people,” Blinken said, adding that Abe, while in office, “brought the relationship between our countries – the United States and Japan – to new heights.
Turkey’s leaders in Singapore condemned the attack and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the shooting “despicable”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his “deepest condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time”.
“This heinous act of violence has no excuse,” he added.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office quoted him as saying the shooting that led to Abe’s death is “an intolerable criminal act”.
Iran condemned the shooting as “an act of terrorism”.
“As a country that has been a victim of terrorism and has lost great leaders to terrorists, we are following the news closely and with concern,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Japanese people could be seen reading extra editions of the Friday newspaper with Abe’s picture on the front page, or stopping to watch the news on television.
Public broadcaster NHK aired dramatic footage of Abe giving a speech outside a train station in the western city of Nara. He is standing, dressed in a navy blue suit, his fist raised, when two shots are heard. Footage then shows Abe collapsed in the street.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the violent attack on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” the White House said in a statement shortly after.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier expressed shock at the shooting. She said Abe was one of the first leaders she met after taking office and described him as deeply committed to his role, generous and kind.
“I remember him asking after the recent loss of our pet when I met him, a small gesture but that shows the kind of person he is,” Ardern said. “Events like this shake us all to the core.”
In the NHK video, security guards are seen jumping on a man in a gray shirt lying face down on the sidewalk. A double-barreled device that appeared to be a homemade firearm is seen on the ground.
Police arrested a suspected shooter at the scene. Under Japanese law, possession of firearms, as well as certain types of knives and other weapons, such as crossbows, is illegal without special license. Their import is also illegal.
Leaders from Germany, Pakistan, Sweden and the Philippines were among those who offered condolences, and many countries, including Spain and France, expressed solidarity with Japan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a day-long national mourning on Saturday as a sign of deepest respect for Abe.
“Mr. Abe has made an immense contribution to elevating India-Japan relations to the level of a special strategic and global partnership. Today, all of India mourns Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters. at this difficult time,” Modi said. said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Abe was one of Australia’s closest friends and a “giant on the world stage”, adding that “his legacy has a global impact, and a deep and positive legacy for Australia”. He will be greatly missed.”
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose term from 2005 to 2021 largely overlapped that of former Japan’s Shinzo Abe, said she was “deeply shocked and devastated” by news of her death from injuries “inflicted during of a cowardly and despicable assassination”. hours earlier.
“My first thoughts are with his wife and family,” she said in a statement. “I cry with them. I wish them comfort and support.
The Taiwanese government said “Abe has spared no effort to advance Taiwan-Japan relations for many years,” noting Abe’s pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic for the Japanese government to do vaccine donation in Taiwan.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his heartfelt condolences and said Italy embraces Abe’s family, the government and the people of Japan.
“Italy is shocked by the terrible attack on Japan and its free and democratic debate. Abe has been a great protagonist in Japanese and international political life in recent decades, thanks to his innovative spirit and his reformist vision”, Draghi said in a statement.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt noted that Abe was killed “while campaigning for his party members. All politicians must be safe in carrying out their work for democracy.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who is chairman of the Group of 20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, mourned Abe’s “untimely passing” and said he “will always be remembered as a great example for all.”
“It is with great dismay that all of us as participants have just learned that the former Prime Minister of Japan has died following the assassination,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said after the summit. . “My thoughts, our thoughts here at the G-20 rendezvous are with his family, with his friends, and it is with great sadness that we also send our greetings to all citizens of Japan.
In China, however, Abe’s shooting sparked unfavorable comments from tens of thousands of nationalist citizens on social media.
Some joked, “I hope he’s not well,” while dozens half-joked calling the shooter a “hero” or an “anti-Japan hero.” Others said Abe’s wounds were a comfort to the souls of those who died during the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.
While not necessarily the view of most Chinese, the posts reflect strong public sentiment – fostered by government propaganda – against right-wing Japanese politicians who question or deny that the military has committed crimes. atrocities in China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian declined to comment. He said China expresses its sympathy to Abe’s family and the shooting should not be linked to bilateral relations.
Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.
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