Shinzo Abe assassinataion updates: Japan shocked after ex-PM dies

Shinzo Abe assassination news from July 8: Former prime minister was shot during a campaign event in the city of Nara.

People pay their respects in front of a makeshift memorial outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station, where former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot earlier in the day, in Nara on July 8, 2022. - Abe was pronounced dead on July 8, the hospital treating him confirmed, after he was shot at a campaign event in the city of Nara. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)
People pay their respects in front of a makeshift memorial outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station, where former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot earlier in the day, in Nara on July 8, 2022 [Philip Fong/AFP]
  • Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, has died after being shot in the city of Nara while campaigning for a parliamentary election.
  • Police say they arrested a 41-year-old man who allegedly shot Abe with a handmade gun.
  • Incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he had “no words” after the fatal shooting, which he described as “a barbaric act”.
  • The attack has stunned Japan, while world leaders reacted to Abe’s death with shock and sadness.

This live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. These were the updates on July 8:

US House Speaker Pelosi mourns “historic leader”

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called Prime Minister Abe “a historic leader, a valued friend to America, and a champion of peace and prosperity – for Japan and for the entire world”.

“It was a special privilege for Members of Congress when Prime Minister Abe delivered an address to a Joint Session of Congress in 2015.  Later that year, I was deeply honored to receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from Emperor Akihito, in the presence of Prime Minister Abe.

“May it be a comfort to Prime Minister Abe’s wife, Akie, to their family and to the people of Japan that so many in America and across the globe pray with them during this terrible time.”

UK’s Queen Elizabeth ‘deeply saddened’ by death of Japan’s Abe

The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.

“My family and I were deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden and tragic death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” said the 96-year-old monarch, who added she had fond memories of meeting Abe and his wife during their 2016 visit to the UK.

“I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time.”


Ivanka Trump speaks of Abe’s wisdom and warmth

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of former President Donald Trump, said she was saddened by Abe’s death, calling him a “historic figure and leader of lasting consequence”.

US congresspeople offer condolences to Abe’s family

Politico has reported outpourings throughout the day from the American political sphere.

In 2015, Abe spoke at a joint meeting of Congress and quoted Carole King.

Senator John Cornyn said it was a “Tragic loss of one of Japan’s leading statesmen. Hard to believe it was just April when I had a chance to meet Prime Minister Abe,” he posted, with a picture of him, Abe, former ambassador to Japan and Senator Bill Hagerty and Senator Ben Cardin.

Representative Steve Cohen called the assassination “a das.tardly act” and noted that he had met with Abe twice, calling him “a superior leader and diplomat”. He offered “condolences to his family and all of Japan”

Former President Donald Trump described Abe as a “truly great man and leader” on Truth Social and said he “was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America”.

US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he was horrified by the killing, calling Abe a “remarkable global leader”.

Assassination suspect admits to targeting Abe

The suspected killer of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has admitted targeting him and said he held a grudge against an organisation he believed the politician was connected to, police said Friday.

“The suspect stated that he held a grudge against a particular organisation, and that he committed the crime because he believed former prime minister Abe had a connection to it,” a senior police officer in Japan’s Nara region told reporters, declining to give further details.

US President Biden “outraged” by Abe Shinzo’s killing

US President Joe Biden has said he is “stunned” and deeply saddened by the killing of the former prime minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo.

“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,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

“He was a champion of the alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people. The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service.”

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, April 29, 2015, as then US Vice President Joe Biden listens [Saul Loeb/AFP]

UN’s Guterres pays tribute to Abe

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has paid tribute to Abe, saying he was “deeply saddened” by his death.

“I had the privilege of knowing him for years & will always remember his collegiality & commitment to multilateralism,” said Guterres.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro orders three-day mourning over Abe’s killing

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has expressed “outrage and sadness” over the assassination of Abe, and said he had ordered three days of national mourning in Brazil.


Russia’s Putin calls death of Abe ‘irreplaceable loss’

In a telegram to Abe’s family, Putin called Abe an “outstanding statesman” who had done a lot to develop “good neighbourly ties between our countries”.


Scholz says ‘aghast and deeply sad’ over Abe murder

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed shock and solidarity with Japan after the killing of Abe.

“The deadly attack on Shinzo Abe has left me aghast and deeply sad,” the German leader tweeted.

“I extend deep sympathy to his family, my colleague Fumio Kishida and our Japanese friends. We stand with Japan in these difficult hours.”

Scholz’s predecessor in office, Angela Merkel, said in a separate statement she was “shocked and appalled”.

Macron: Japan has lost a great PM

“Japan has lost a great prime minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked to ensure order in the world,” Macron said on Twitter.

France's President Emmanuel Macron reacts as he welcomes Australia's Prime Minister prior to a working lunch at the presidential Elysee Palace.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dedicated his life to Japan [File: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP] (AFP)

In mostly gun-free nation, Japanese stunned by Abe killing

Japan has struggled with shock and sadness, trying to come to terms with the assassination of Abe in a nation where firearms are strictly regulated and political violence extremely rare.

From Abe protege Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to ordinary people on social media, there was an outpouring of grief in a nation where political violence is so rare the last time a former or sitting prime minister was killed was nearly 90 years ago.

“I am incredibly shocked,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told a news conference before Abe’s death was announced, fighting back tears and sniffling audibly.

“No matter the reason, such a heinous act is absolutely unforgivable. It is an affront against democracy,” she added.

Nara Police officers direct pedestrians
Japan’s gun ownership restrictions do not allow private citizens to have handguns, and licensed hunters may own only rifles [Hiro Komae/AP]

Blinken mourns Japan’s Abe as ‘leader of great vision’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mourned the slain prime minister Abe as a visionary leader who boosted relations between the two allies.

Meeting his Japanese and South Korean counterparts jointly at a G20 meeting in Bali, Blinken called Abe “a leader with great vision” who “brought the relationship between our countries, the United States and Japan, to new heights”.

Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken  called Abe ‘a leader with great vision’ [File: Michael Sohn/AP]

Chinese embassy in Japan issues condolences on death of Abe

The Chinese embassy in Japan has expressed condolences over the death of former leader Shinzo Abe in a shooting attack.

“Former Prime Minister Abe made contributions towards improving China-Japan relations during his term. We express our condolences on his death and send our sympathies to his family,” a spokesman said on the embassy website.

South Korea President Yoon sends condolences

South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol has sent condolences to Abe’s widow Akie Abe, following his death after the Friday shooting.

“I send my condolences to the bereaved families and Japanese people who have lost the longest-serving prime minister and respected politician in Japan’s constitutional history,” Yoon was quoted as saying in a statement delivered by the presidential office.

Yoon added that the shooting was “an unforgivable act of crime”.

Yoon Suk-yeol
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has sent condolences to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie [File: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg]

Italy ‘shocked’ by death of Shinzo Abe: PM

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said that his country was “shocked by the terrible attack” on Abe.

“Italy is shocked by this terrible attack that hits Japan and its free democratic debate,” he said in a message of condolence.

Taiwan has lost a close friend, president says of Abe death

The world has lost an important leader and Taiwan has lost a friend, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has said on Friday after Abe died.

“Not only has the international community lost an important leader, but Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend.

“Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with the rule of law, and our government severely condemns violent and illegal acts,” Tsai said in a statement released by her office.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the island has lost a close friend with the death of Abe [File: Chiang Ying-ying/AP]

France expresses its solidarity with Japan after killing of ex-PM Abe

France expresses its full solidarity with Japan after the killing of Abe, the French foreign affairs ministry has said.

Germany says it is at Japan’s side after Abe dies

Germany is at Japan’s side, a German government spokesperson has said in response to news that Abe died hours after he was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.

Shinzo Abe: Japan’s longest-serving prime minister

Shinzo Abe smashed records as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, championing ambitious economic reform and forging key diplomatic relationships while weathering scandals.

Abe was a sprightly 52 when he first became prime minister in 2006, the youngest person to occupy the job in the post-war era.

He was seen as a symbol of change and youth but also brought the pedigree of a third-generation politician groomed from birth by an elite, conservative family.

Abe’s first term was turbulent, plagued by scandals and discord and capped by an abrupt resignation.

After initially suggesting he was stepping down for political reasons, he acknowledged he was suffering from an ailment later diagnosed as ulcerative colitis.

Nearly two years after poor health forced him to leave office, the 67-year-old was shot during a campaign event in the western region of Nara on Friday [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

PM Johnson says UK stands with Japan after Abe’s death

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK stood with Japan at this dark time following the “incredibly sad news” about the death of Abe in a shooting.

“Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe,” he said on Twitter. “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.”

Polish PM Morawiecki ‘deeply shocked’ by Abe killing

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said he was shocked by the death of Abe.

“I am deeply shocked by the news of the assassination of @AbeShinzo,” he wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the family of our Japanese friend who was always very kind to Poland. May he Rest In Peace.”

Former Japan PM Abe dead after shooting: local media

Abe has been confirmed dead at a hospital, public broadcaster NHK and Jiji news agency reported.

“According to a senior LDP [Liberal Democratic Party] official, former prime minister Abe died at a hospital in Kashihara city, Nara region, where he was receiving medical treatment. He was 67,” NHK said.

Macron ‘profoundly shocked’

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he is “profoundly shocked by the despicable attack” on Abe.

“Thoughts for the friends and family of a great prime minister. France stands with the Japanese people,” he wrote on Twitter.

Abe’s wife on way to hospital

The NHK public broadcaster has shown live footage of Abe’s wife, Akie, on her way by train to the hospital in Nara where he is being treated.

World reacts to shooting

Leaders from around the world have condemned the attack against Abe.

Read more here.

‘Act of brutality’

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has told reporters Abe was in a critical condition.

“Everything that can be done is being done to revive him. I’m praying from the depths of my heart that his life will be saved,” he said, adding he was not aware of any motive.

“This attack is an act of brutality that happened during the elections – the very foundation of our democracy – and is absolutely unforgivable.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets the press at his office in Tokyo, after former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot in Na
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses reporters after the shooting [Kyodo via Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies