United States President Joseph R Biden Jr. said on Friday that he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened” by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a campaign event in the western city of Nara on Friday morning.
“I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning,” President Biden wrote in a statement. “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.”
The American leader added,”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. Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy. 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 that are affected by it. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief. I send my deepest condolences to his family.”
Shinzo Abe, 67, was assassinated on Friday by Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who previously served in the Japanese Navy. The assassination of Japan’s longest serving prime minister sent shock waves throughout the country ahead of elections for the upper house of parliament on Sunday.
Abe was making a campaign speech for a fellow politician from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Nara, near Osaka, in western Japan, when Yamagami shot him twice. He collapsed and was bleeding from his chest before he was rushed to the hospital where he later died. Abe was pronounced dead by doctors hours after he was shot at close range at about 11.30 a.m. on Friday local time.
Hidetada Fukushima, the head of the emergency center at the Nara Medical University Hospital, said that Abe had no vital signs when he was brought to the hospital at 12:20 p.m. on Friday.
Fukushima said doctors found gunshot wounds to his neck and that one of the bullets had reached his heart. He said Abe died of blood loss less than five hours after he arrived at the hospital, despite all efforts to save him.