Thursday, June 1

World leaders mourn assassination of “friend” Shinzo Abe

World leaders past and present mourned the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after the man many called their friend was assassinated while campaigning in western Japan Friday. Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was 67.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Abe’s murder is “incredibly shocking,” and he is “deeply saddened.”

“The world has lost a great man of vision, and Canada has lost a close friend,” Trudeau tweeted. “My thoughts are with his wife, Akie, and the people of Japan as they mourn this loss. You’ll be missed, my friend.”

South Korea’s president, Yoon Suk Yeol, sent his condolences to Japan and condemned the assassination. 

“I send my condolences to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s family and the Japanese people,” the South Korean leader tweeted. “An act of terrorism during an election is a brutal attack against the very foundation of democracy. It is utterly unacceptable, and I strongly condemn such an attack.”

“Incredibly sad news,” tweeted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a day after he announced that he’ll be stepping down. “His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shared his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family and the people of Japan on Twitter.

“This heinous act of violence has no excuse,” Zelenskyy tweeted

French President Emmanuel Macron said Japan lost “a great prime minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked to bring balance to the world,” in a statement translated from French.

In the U.S., presidents of both parties expressed their sorrow over the shooting, noting the strong partnership between the U.S. and Japan under Abe’s leadership. 

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo on December 3, 2013. 

TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images

“I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former prime minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday morning. “This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him. I had the privilege to work closely with Prime Minister Abe. As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington. He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people.”

Mr. Biden added that gun violence “always leaves a deep scar” on affected communities, and “the United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief.” 

Former President Barack Obama said he is “shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner.”

President Barack Obama, right, walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after laying wreaths in front of a memorial to the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, on May 27, 2016. 


“Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan,” Obama said in a statement. “I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance, the moving experience of traveling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, and the grace he and his wife Akie Abe showed to me and Michelle. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan who are very much in our thoughts at this painful moment.”

Former President Donald Trump, who golfed with Abe on a number of occasions and forged an alliance with him, called the initial news that Abe had been shot “absolutely devastating” in a statement on his social media site, Truth Social. 

“He was a true friend of mine, and much more importantly, America,” Trump said prior to confirmation of Abe’s death. “This is a tremendous blow to the people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much.”

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands during a meeting on trade in New York, on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

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