Mourning in Japan after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

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Kashihara (Japan): The convoy carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from the city of Nara (west), where he was killed during an election rally on Friday, arrived in Tokyo on Saturday morning in an atmosphere of sadness while the country is still reeling from the trauma. of his assassination.

An AFP journalist saw a morgue arrive at Abe’s residence in Tokyo. Television footage shows leaders of the former prime minister’s Liberal Democratic Party dressed in black and standing respectfully in line.

The assassination of Abe, one of the archipelago’s best-known politicians who ruled the country for more than eight years, has sparked feelings of deep sadness in Japan and abroad.

The perpetrator of the attack, who was arrested at the scene of the incident, admitted that he had deliberately targeted Abe, explaining to police that he was ghosting with an organization he believed the former prime minister was associated with. A number of Japanese media reported that the case was related to a religious group.

A number of Japanese media said the 41-year-old attacker had previously joined the Self-Defense Navy, the Japanese navy, and used a weapon that “appeared to be homemade” and was currently being investigated.

Attack on Abe

At the time of the attack, the 67-year-old former prime minister was addressing a rally in Nara district ahead of Sunday’s upper house election, when gunshots were heard.

Incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed on Friday that preparations for the elections, “the basis of democracy”, would continue as normal.

Kishida, who, like Shinzo Abe, belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party (national right), took part in an election rally in Yamanashi (west of Tokyo) on Saturday morning. “Violence cannot overcome the word,” he told about 600 people, according to the Mainichi daily.

“We will not allow what happened yesterday to happen again,” the newspaper quoted a member of the security forces as saying. He talked about an improved security system by installing metal detectors and inspecting participants’ bags.

Aki, Shinzo Abe’s widow, got into a car that media said was carrying the former prime minister’s body and left Kashihara Hospital near Nara, where doctors tried to save him after the attack.

Shinzo Abe was shot twice in the neck and pronounced dead hours later despite the efforts of a team of twenty doctors.

Local media reported that a memorial service will take place on Monday evening, and the funeral will be held on Tuesday, with only Abe’s family and relatives present.

The killing of Shinzo Abe rocked Japan, whose current prime minister called his assassination a “barbaric” and “unforgivable act”.

international condemnation

Leaders around the world condemned the assassination. South Korea and China, which have strained relations with Japan, expressed their condolences.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to Kishida on Saturday, according to Chinese state media. State television channel CCTV said that President Xi “on behalf of the Chinese government and people, and in his own name, expressed his deepest condolences on the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”

She added that Xi is “deeply saddened by this sudden death.”

For his part, US President Joe Biden said he was “shocked” and “deeply saddened”, while French President Emmanuel Macron praised a “great prime minister who dedicated his life to his country and worked to balance the world .”

In Australia, the Sydney Opera House will be lit up in honor of Shinzo Abe on Sunday.

A large number of people have gathered at the site of the attack since Friday. “I couldn’t sit still,” said Sashi Nagafuji (54), who came with her son to lay flowers. “I respect and trust him as a politician,” she added.

Heir of a political family

Shinzo Abe is the heir to a political family and the record holder for tenure as Prime Minister of Japan – 2006-2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.

A nationalist and a pragmatist at the same time, Abe made an impact with his bold economic policy, which bears his name (Abenomics), combining massive fiscal stimulus with an extremely loose monetary policy.

Abe has called on Japan to rid itself of the knot of its militaristic past and has dreamed of revising Japan’s pacifist 1947 constitution, which was written by the US occupiers and has not been amended since.

He was forced to resign for health reasons, but he remained very influential within the Liberal Democratic Party that led him.

Local Liberal Democratic Party officials said they had received no threat before the attack, which was broadcast on television channels.

The footage shows the former prime minister standing on a platform, then an explosion is heard, followed by smoke. Surprised participants bow and then several people are seen pinning another person to the ground.

“The first shot looked like a game,” a young woman told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. She added that Shinzo Abe “didn’t fall and then there was a big explosion. The second shot was more visible and you could see a spark and smoke.”

After the second shot, people surrounded Abe, who fell to the ground, and “rubbed his heart”.

A security team was present, but it was easy for those present to approach Abe.

Japan has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world and the number of people killed by bullets is very low.

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