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fatal shooting of a Japanese Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shocked world leaders on Friday and quickly drew comments full of condemnation and regret from officials around the world.
President Joe Biden has yet to issue a statement, but Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the news “shocking” and “deeply disturbing”.
Other G-7 world leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, tweeted that he was “deeply appalled by the heinous attack that Shinzo Abe has suffered.”
“Japan is losing a great prime minister who dedicated his life to his country and worked to bring balance to the world,” he added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “extremely shocked and saddened” by the news of Shinzo’s execution. Adding just a few hours later that it was “incredibly sad news” when he learned he had died from his injuries.
“His global leadership in uncharted times will be remembered by many,” he added.
Theresa May, who served as British Prime Minister during Shinzo’s final years in Japan’s top office before resigning due to his chronic ulcerative colitis, called him “a statesman of the highest caliber”.
“Dependent partner and reliable ally. Unbeatable host. But also the warmest and kindest friend,” she added.
Former President Donald Trump, who also served as president during Shinzo’s tenure, called him a “unique unifier.”
“Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them to be kind,” Trump said in a statement posted on his social media platform Truth Social. “First of all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. We will miss Shinzo Abe very much.”
German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said he was “shocked and deeply saddened”.
“We support Japan even during these difficult hours,” he tweeted.
Regional leaders in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and China expressed their regret at the news. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen said in a statement that “Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend.”
Even world leaders who historically did not have deep diplomatic ties with Japan immediately condemned the attack, as Iran’s foreign ministry called it an “act of terrorism.”
“As a country that has been a victim of terrorism and has lost great leaders to terrorists, we are following the news closely and with concern,” an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Shinzo’s murder was particularly shocking as Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world to live in.
Gun violence in Japan remained extremely rare for many years after a 1958 law effectively banned nearly all gun and sword ownership.
Japan allows citizens to own firearms after they complete a 13-step program that includes joining hunting or shooting club and an extensive background and evaluation process.
The weapon used in Friday’s shooting is suspected to be homemade.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.