Murder of Shinzo Abe in Japan is ‘horribly disturbing’: Trudeau


The assassination of Japan’s longest-serving prime minister during a campaign speech is “terribly disturbing” and calls for a push back against rising violence and threats that are damaging democracy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Abe was killed on a street in western Japan on Friday by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind while he was making a campaign speech, an attack that stunned the country that has some of the strictest gun control laws. of the world.

Abe, 67, collapsed bleeding and was airlifted to a nearby hospital in Nara, some 500 kilometers west of Tokyo. He was pronounced dead after receiving massive blood transfusions, authorities said.

Trudeau, who sat with Abe at the G7 and G20 leaders’ tables from 2015 until Abe’s resignation in 2020, said Abe was “a great friend and partner of Canada.”

“I have known Shinzo for many years,” Trudeau said. “He was a thoughtful, compassionate and strong leader who understood the importance of service, he understood the importance of building a better world, better opportunities for its citizens.”

Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, who attended the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia, said she expressed Canada’s condolences to Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Trudeau said the senseless death was compounded by the fact that it occurred while Abe was campaigning ahead of Japan’s upper house elections next week. He said everyone must recommit to “the values ​​and principles of democracy,” allowing for great debate and a diversity of perspectives, but without threats of violence and intimidation.

Security risks in Canadian politics have increased in recent years, particularly in the federal election campaign last fall, when the threat level against Trudeau rose so high that his security team was significantly expanded.

Acting Conservative Leader Candice Bergen said in a statement that Abe’s time in office “was instrumental in strengthening relations between Canada and Japan.”

“His legacy is one of a commitment to regional prosperity and security that is reflected in treaties such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, to which Canada and Japan are signatories,” he said.

In a statement released by the White House, US President Joe Biden said he was “shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, the former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot to death while doing campaign”.

“While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities affected by it,” Biden said. “The United States stands with Japan in this time of pain. I send my deepest condolences to his family.”

Nara Medical University’s emergency department chief Hidetada Fukushima said Abe suffered serious heart damage, along with two neck injuries that damaged an artery. He never recovered vital signs from him, Fukushima said.

Nara prefectural police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack and identified him as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a former member of the Japanese navy. Broadcaster NHK reported that he said that he wanted to kill Abe because he had grievances about him that were not related to politics.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his cabinet ministers returned to Tokyo from nationwide campaign events after the shooting, which he called “cowardly and barbaric.” He promised that the election, which selects members of Japan’s less powerful upper house of parliament, would go ahead as planned.

“I use the harshest words to condemn (the act),” Kishida said, struggling to control his emotions. He said the government planned to review the security situation, but added that Abe had the most protection.

Even though he was out of office, Abe was still highly influential in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, heading its largest faction, the Seiwakai.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “events like this shake us all up.”

“He was one of the first leaders I met formally when I became prime minister. He was deeply committed to his role, and he was also generous and kind. I remember him asking me about the recent loss of our pet when I met him, a small gesture. but one that speaks to the kind of person he is,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “deeply distressed” by the attack on a “dear friend”.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called it a “senseless act of violence.”

“Mr. Abe is a good friend from Singapore. I had just invited him to lunch in May, on my visit to Tokyo. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Abe and his family,” Lee said on Facebook.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 8, 2022.

– With files from The Associated Press.

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