Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a nationalist who served longer than anyone else in office before resigning in 2020, was shot at a campaign rally on Friday.
The security service detained the suspect at the scene of the attack, and was taken into custody by the police. The shooting shocked many in Japan, which is one of the safest countries in the world and has some of the strictest gun control laws.
\”This is barbaric and malicious and cannot be tolerated,\” current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the media.
Police say 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami shot Abe twice while giving a political speech in the city of Nara. The first shot missed, but the second hit Abe in the chest and neck and, despite efforts to revive him, died a few hours later.
According to police, Yamagami was unemployed and served in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force for three years, and attacked Abe because he believed he belonged to a group that Yamagami hated. Later, several makeshift pistols were found from Yamagami\’s home.
Abe, 67, served as prime minister in 2006 and 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, when he abruptly resigned citing health problems. Despite leaving office, he remained influential within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and continues to influence the Japanese political landscape.
Tributes coming from all over the world
In a statement, President Biden said he was \”shocked, outraged and deeply saddened\” by the killing, describing Abe as a friend. \”His vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will continue.\”
President Biden later said he planned to stop at the Japanese embassy in Washington on Friday afternoon to sign a book of condolence.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is in Asia for the G20 foreign ministers meeting, called the killing \”deeply disturbing\” and described Abe as a great visionary leader.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Abe as \”an outstanding world statesman, an outstanding leader and a remarkable administrator\”. He tweeted that July 9 will be a day of national mourning in India.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Abe \”an outstanding statesman\” and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called him \”Japan\’s most important post-war leader\”.
Abe made significant economic progress but failed to amend Japan\’s constitution.
As prime minister, Abe worked to strengthen Japan\’s military, counter growing Chinese influence, and sought to stimulate and improve the economy through a program that became known as Abenomics.
During her tenure, Abe reformed immigration policy, female labor force participation increased, and the Japanese economy unexpectedly returned to healthy growth.
Michael Green, a former National Security Council official in the George W. Bush administration who worked extensively with Abe, said Abe was by far the most powerful leader in modern Japan. His vision of putting Japan back on the geopolitical map generated loyalty among the country\’s bureaucracy and elected officials.
\”I think his legacy runs deep,\” Green told Morning Edition. \”There is no major political figure in Japan who advocates a direction other than the strategic change that Abe holds as prime minister.\”
The past haunts Japanese Shinzo Abe
The past haunts Japanese Shinzo Abe
In recent years, when the US seemed uncertain about its position in the region, Green said Abe was holding everything together.
\”When President Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that major trade deal in Asia, Abe stepped in and supported him and urged the US to come back,\” he said. \”When the Trump administration battled Europe at the G7 summit, Abe was a peacemaker … he actually stepped in to strengthen the international order, the liberal order the US helped create when China and Russia held their own. You have come.\”
Ultimately, he failed to achieve his most cherished political goal and the goal of his party: to revise the pacifist constitution of post-World War II Japan. Abe\’s proposed amendments would strengthen the government\’s emergency powers while reducing the role of human rights. Abe felt that the political values imposed by the US-backed constitution were foreign to some of Japan\’s traditions, such as honoring the emperor.
However, in 2015, Abe managed to pass a law that allows the Japanese military to expand its operations overseas in support of allies, including the United States.
Abe becomes more critical of China
When he stepped down, most Japanese were dissatisfied with how he handled the coronavirus pandemic, believing he acted too slowly.
The imposition of a state of emergency mainly due to concerns about the economy.
In recent months, Abe has been a more vocal critic of China. Earlier this year, he left the United States.
It called on Taiwan to abandon its long-standing practice of \”strategic ambiguity\” and assure Taiwan that it will not.
We are counting on US assistance in the event of a Chinese attack.
He also angered China by saying that \”Taiwan\’s contingency is Japan\’s contingency\” and noting that Japan can\’t help but be embroiled in a conflict over a self-governing island that Beijing considers part of China. .