World leaders stunned after shooting of ex-Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

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Shinzo Abe, Japan, Missile
Former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe

World leaders have expressed shock and anguish over the shooting of Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign speech.

Mr Abe was shot in western Japan and airlifted to hospital, where he was pronounced dead after efforts to save his life.

Police arrested a suspected gunman at the scene.

Shinzo Abe with Boris Johnson at the G7 in 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter that he was “utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the despicable attack on Shinzo Abe”.

He added: “My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

US President Joe Biden said he was “stunned, outraged and deeply saddened”, and he offered his condolences to Mr Abe’s family.

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“This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him,” Mr Biden said. “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.“

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the whole of America is “deeply saddened and deeply concerned”.

“Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan. This is a very, very sad moment,” he said on the sidelines of a G20 meeting on Indonesia’s Bali island.

Former US president Donald Trump said the attack on Mr Abe was devastating. He described Mr Abe as a “truly great man and leader” and said he “was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America”.

Mr Trump added on his social media app: “This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much.”

Shinzo Abe with former Australian PM Scott Morrison

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese echoed the sentiments.

“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,” Mr Albanese tweeted.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was in Sydney meeting with Albanese on Friday, said she was “deeply shocked”.

“He was one of the first leaders I formally met when I became Prime Minister. He was deeply committed to his role, and also generous and kind. I recall him asking after the recent loss of our pet when I met him, a small gesture but one that speaks to the kind of person he is,” Ms Ardern said.

“My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Japan. Events like this shake us all to the core.”

Asian leaders were also stunned.

“Deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attacked the “senseless act of violence”.

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

Philippine foreign secretary Enrique Manalo said he learned the news with great shock and dismay.

Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi, who is in Bali as president of the G20, conveyed the G20 foreign ministers’ “deepest sympathies”.

Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said he was saddened and shocked.

And former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd said “an attack on any democratically elected political leader in the world is an attack on supporters of democracy everywhere”.

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