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Saturday, December 03, 2022

Deadly shooting of Japan’s Shinzo Abe stuns world leaders

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia ( Associated Press) – Friday’s shocking assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe One of the world’s safest country stunned and condemned the world, with Iran denouncing it as an “act of terrorism” and Spain a “cowardly attack”.

Abe, 67, was shot from behind during a campaign speech in Nara, western Japan. He was taken to the hospital but he was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was later declared brought dead at the hospital. Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader before stepping down in 2020 for health reasons. The police have arrested a suspected gunman from the spot.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who hastily returned to Tokyo from campaign events around the country, called the shooting “dastardly and barbaric”.

“I am praying from the bottom of my heart for the survival of former Prime Minister Abe,” Kishida told reporters in his office.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez extended his best wishes to Abe’s family and “we condemn this cowardly attack. Spain stands with the people of Japan at this difficult time,” he tweeted.

The Italian government and lawmakers across the political spectrum condemned the shooting, with the office of Premier Mario Draghi expressing solidarity with Abe and the Japanese people.

Italy’s right-wing League party leader Matteo Salvini expressed “disappointment” at the shooting and urged prayers for Abe in a tweet, calling him a “brave Japanese politician”.

And former Premier Giuseppe Conte, the head of the populist 5-Star Movement, cited Abe as an example of a politician committed to serving his country and offered his solidarity with his family and the Japanese people.

People in Japan can be seen reading extra editions of newspapers with a large front page of Abe’s picture, or stopping to watch the news on TV.

NHK’s public broadcaster broadcast dramatic footage of Abe’s speech outside a train station in the western city of Nara. He stands, wearing a dark blue suit, raising his fist when a gunshot is heard. The footage then shows Abe falling on the road.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the violent attack against former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” the White House said in a statement. “We are monitoring the reports closely and sharing our thoughts with his family and the people of Japan.”

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In the NHK video, security guards are seen leaping over a man in a gray shirt who is lying face down on the sidewalk. A double-barrelled device on the ground looks like a hand-held gun.

Iran condemned the shooting, calling it “an act of terrorism”.

“As a country that has been a victim of terrorism and has lost great leaders to terrorists, we are watching this news closely and with concern,” a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is on the Indonesian island of Bali for the Group of Foreign Ministers meeting of 20 rich and developing countriesalso expressed concern over the attempted assassination of Abe.

“We don’t know his condition. We know that apparently he has been shot. Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan. It is a very sad moment,” he said.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baierbock wrote on Twitter that she was “shocked by the news of the shooting of Shinzo Abe. My thoughts are with him and his family.”

Bairbock is scheduled to travel to Japan over the weekend to attend a memorial ceremony for the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki and meet her Japanese counterpart in Tokyo.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits her Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese When he got the news on Friday in Sydney.

Ardern said she was “deeply shocked”.

“When I became prime minister he was one of the first leaders I formally met. He was deeply committed to his role, and was also generous and kind. I remember when I met him, he asked after the recent loss of our pet, a small gesture but one that speaks to that kind of person,” said Ardern. “My thoughts are his wife. And with the people of Japan. Incidents like this shake us all to the core.”

Albanese echoed sentiments in a tweet: “Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot. Our condolences are with his family and the people of Japan at this time.”

The leaders of all Asia were stunned.

“Very saddened by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and the people of Japan,” tweeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China was “shocked” by the “sudden incident” and hoped Abe would be out of danger and make a speedy recovery.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described it as a “stupid act of violence”.

“Mr. Abe is a good friend of Singapore. I hosted him for lunch on my trip to Tokyo in May. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Abe and his family,” Lee said on Facebook.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said he learned the news with great shock and disappointment. “I express my deepest condolences and pray for his speedy recovery,” he said.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who is in Bali as chairman of the G20, conveyed the G20 foreign ministers’ “deepest sympathy and our prayers for Abe’s speedy recovery”.

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said he was saddened and shocked. “The Government and people of Malaysia are praying for his speedy recovery and giving strength to his family to bear this tragedy,” he tweeted.

Other former world leaders also condemned the horrific attack on Abe, the longest-serving prime minister in Japan, He led Japan from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 before stepping down in 2020 due to ill health.

Former US President Donald Trump said the attack on Abe was devastating. He described Abe as a “truly great man and leader” and said he was “a true friend of mine and more importantly America.”

“This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!” Trump said this on his social media app.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Facebook that “an attack on any democratically elected political leader in the world is an attack on supporters of democracy everywhere.”

Two other former Australian prime ministers, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, reacted in disbelief. Abbott called it a “shocking act of violence” and Turnbull said he was horrified. They both expressed hope and prayer that Abe would fulfill it.

Former US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien paid tribute to Abe as “a great man in Japan and the entire Indo-Pacific region”.

“May God bless him in full recovery,” he said.

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