Cruelly gunned down at a political rally, Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister lost his life in a senseless act of violence.
He was allegedly killed by 41-year-old navy veteran Tetsuya Yamagami with a handmade double-barrel shotgun required to circumnavigate Japan’s strict anti-gun laws. Tetsuya was arrested at the scene where he confessed to police that he was ‘dissatisfied with Abe’ and ‘wanted to kill him’
Japanese media reports that Tetsuya was a member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force for a three year period and a local resident. There is information emerging that multiple handmade guns were found at his home.
According to footage of the event, the first shot appeared to miss the 67-year-old Shinzo Abe, who remained standing while both the crowd and his security detail looked around in confusion before the second shot struck the former Prime Minister in the back.
Shinzo collapsed at the scene, clasping his chest before suffering a medical emergency in which his heart stopped. He was rushed to hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him. It was later confirmed that Shinzo suffered two bullet wounds to his neck and damage to his heart followed by catastrophic blood loss that could not be recovered from.
This is the first assassination of a political leader in Japan since 1960 when Chairman of the Japanese Socialist Party, Inejirō Asanuma, was killed with a sword. There have been other narrowly avoided attempts, particularly during the early 90s. By global standards, political violence of this nature is extremely rare in Japan in the period following the second world war.
The assassination happened in the lead-up to Japan’s Upper House elections where Shinzo was endorsing Kei Sato during a speech in Nara, a city in western Japan. Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is from the same party as Shinzo, has said that the election ‘must go on’ during a passionate speech in which he condemned the violence.
‘This heinous act, and in the background what the motives are we don’t know the detailed information yet, but elections are being held. This is the very foundation of democracy and yet such an incident took place. It is barbaric and malicious, and cannot be tolerated. We will do everything we can. I would like to use the most extreme words available to condemn this act,’ said Kishida.
Shinzo was widely admired and liked by world leaders. He was also a sort of Japanese political royalty, following on from his grandfather, Nobuskuke Kishi, who was also a former Prime Minister. He wished to restore Japan and solidify its friendship with the West while taking a strong stance against the expansionist communist empire of China and rogue nation of North Korea, both of which caused security issues for Japan.
Her Majesty The Queen issued a statement that reads:
‘My family and I were deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden and tragic death of former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. I have fond memories of meeting Mr Abe and his wife during their visit to the United Kingdom in 2016. His love for Japan, and his desire to forge ever-closer bonds with the United Kingdom, were clear.
I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time.’
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was, ‘Utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe.’
Former US President Donald Trump, who was a friend of Shinzo, posted on Truth Social:
‘Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD! Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is dead. He was assassinated. His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind. He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him!’
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, ‘Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot. Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time.’
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott tweeted:
‘With the death of Shinzo Abe in an act of shocking violence, Australia has lost a great friend and Japan has lost its most significant post-war leader. Under Abe, Japan assumed its rightful place as the leading democracy of the western Pacific.’
The world has lost one of its great conservatives, and Japan is left to mourn the senseless murder of a revered public figure.
Rest in peace, Shinzo Abe.
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