Today (July 8), Japan and many around the world are reeling from the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, including the United States’ 44th President Barack Obama. Taking to social media, Obama expressed his feelings on Abe’s assassination while reflecting on his relationship with the politician during his stint at the White House:
“I am shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner Shinzo Abe in Japan. Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan.”
Obama continued by offering his condolences to Abe’s loved ones and supporters:
“I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance, the moving experience of traveling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, and the grace he and his wife Akie Abe showed to me and Michelle. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan who are very much in our thoughts at this painful moment.”
At around 11:30am JST (GMT+9), Abe was in the southern city of Nara providing support during a parliamentary election campaign. During his speech, he was shot by a man who was reportedly in possession of a homemade gun. The alleged shooter, 41-year-old Yamagami Tetsuya, was apprehended by authorities shortly after. Abe was then shuttled to Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara City, where he succumbed to his injuries.
“As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington. 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.”