July 8, 2022 Shinzo Abe shot dead in Nara, Japan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a summit meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on July 8.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a summit meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on July 8. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

Tributes to Shinzo Abe continued to pour in from politicians around the world, many of whom recalled their visits with the former leader and expressed their shock at his assassination.

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Japan has lost a great prime minister.”

“On behalf of the French people, I send my condolences to the Japanese authorities and people after the assassination of Shinzo Abe. Japan has lost a great Prime Minister, who dedicated his life to his country and worked to bring balance to the world,” Macron tweeted.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Abe’s assassination “shocking” and hailed Abe as “a leader with great vision” and an “extraordinary partner”, who took U.S.-Japan relations “to new heights”.

“It’s deeply disturbing in itself, it’s also such a strong personal loss for so many people,” Blinken said on Friday.

A number of former leaders who worked with Abe during his tenure as Japanese prime minister also offered their condolences.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron said Abe was “a good friend personally, a strong UK partner and an utterly nice and decent man”. He called her death “devastating and truly shocking”.

Former Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu said he will “always remember Shinzo Abe and cherish our deep friendship”, while Nicolas Sarkozy, former French Prime Ministercalled him “a great leader who left his mark on Japan”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Abe’s death “incredibly shocking”, adding that he was “deeply saddened”. Trudeau tweeted, “The world has lost a great man of vision and Canada has lost a close friend. My thoughts are with his wife, Akie, and the people of Japan who mourn this loss. You will be missed my friend.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called Abe a “brilliant leader” in a tweet on Friday. “I receive with extreme indignation and sorrow the news of the death of @AbeShinzo, a brilliant leader who was a great friend of Brazil. I extend to Abe’s family, as well as to our Japanese brothers, my solidarity and my wish God would watch over their souls at this time of pain,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family and the Japanese people. “Horrible news of a brutal assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. I send my deepest condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time. This heinous act of violence has no excuse,” tweeted Zelensky.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she was “extremely saddened” by Abe’s passing, referring to the late leader as “Taiwan’s most loyal friend”. Tsai Ing-wen said Abe was “an old friend” whom she had known “for over a decade”.

UN Secretary General António Guterres tweeted his condolences for the assassination of Abe. “I am deeply saddened by the horrific murder of Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan,” Guterres said. “I had the privilege of knowing him for years and will always remember his collegiality and his commitment to multilateralism. My condolences to his family, and to the people and government of Japan.

Former US President Barack Obama said he was “shocked and saddened” by Abe’s killing. In a statement, he referred to the close relationship the two leaders forged during his second term and the “extraordinary alliance” between the two nations. In 2016, Obama traveled to Hiroshima with Abe – becoming the first sitting US president to do so – and later that year Abe returned the gesture, becoming the first Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor.

Former US President George W. Bushwho worked with Abe during his first term as Japanese prime minister in 2006, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the senseless assassination”, adding that “Shinzo Abe was a patriot of his country that wanted to continue to serve this.”

Queen Elizabeth II, in a message of condolence to the Emperor of Japan, said that “Abe’s love for Japan and his desire to forge ever closer ties with the United Kingdom was clear. I wish to express my deepest sympathy and my condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time.

The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher expressed his “deep sadness”, saying in an interview with Italian public television channel RAI on Friday that Abe “was a man who had great influence beyond the borders of Japan. He was also a very controversial person, however, a man of principle, a man of great sense of the common good of his people.”

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