Biden, Trump and Obama are shocked by the murder of Shinzo Abe

President Biden and other US leaders mourned the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated Friday while speaking ahead of his country’s parliamentary elections.

“I am stunned, outraged and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, the former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while on the campaign trail,” Biden said in a statement. “This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him.”

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden said Friday he does not believe the assassination “will have any profoundly destabilizing effect on Japan’s security and Japanese solidarity.” The island nation remains a “very stable ally,” Biden said, adding that he would visit the country’s embassy in Washington to sign a book of condolences.

As vice president, Biden worked closely with Abe in efforts to reduce nuclear stockpiles and ease tensions with China. Abe stepped down as prime minister in 2020 due to health reasons.

Abe, 67, was fatally shot Friday in broad daylight in Nara, a city to the west about 300 miles from Tokyo. Japan is known for its strict gun laws, and early reports indicate that the killer used homemade weapons.

Abe was the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history and worked closely with former presidents George W. Bush, Obama and Trump during his tenure.

As prime minister, Abe reasserted Japan’s influence in world politics and helped drive modest economic gains. He sought to restore Japan’s influence on the international stage by hosting the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics and building up the Japanese military. despite its pacifist constitution. And he caused controversy by leading efforts in Japan to hush up wartime atrocities committed by Japan.

On the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 2016, Obama and Abe scattered petals on the water and warned of the threat posed by isolationists and those seeking to back away from international cooperation.

The ceremony took place after Trump won the presidential election, but before he took office. Abe spent little time trying to patch things up with Trump, who campaigned under the slogan “America First” and was the first foreign leader to visit the then president’s Florida resort.

On his Truth Social, Trump said the assassination was “really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD!”

Abe “was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his great country, Japan,” Trump said. “Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him.”

Former President Obama tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened” by Abe’s death and called the former prime minister a “long-time partner committed both to the country he served and to the extraordinary alliance between the US and Japan.”

Times news researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.