Shinzo Abe’s assassination was a ‘shock to the system’ of Japan, says Ambassador Rahm Emanuel

The assassination of Shinzo Abe last week was a “shock to the system and a shock to the culture” of Japan, where gun violence rarely interferes with daily life, the US ambassador to Japan said on Sunday. Rahm Emmanuel.

“It’s a shock around the world, but it’s definitely a shock here in Japan, not only because gun violence is so rare, but also — it’s a nation that’s an island and a lot of that. who hurts other countries, she’s immune and feels immune,” Emanuel, a former ABC News contributor, told ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.

“As a foreigner, one of the things I hope not to lose, even if the bubble has been burst, is that level of trust in society,” Emanuel added.

MORE: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dies aged 67 after assassination

He then hailed Abe’s historic political career as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and “a dear friend of the United States”. China.

Abe, who left office in 2020 due to chronic health issues, was shot and killed on Friday while campaigning at a political rally in the city of Nara. Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world and some of the lowest rates of gun violence in the world, which adds surprise to Abe’s murder. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it was an “unforgivable” act.

PHOTO: Rahm Emanuel, US Ambassador to Japan, during an interview in Tokyo, March 17, 2022.

Rahm Emanuel, US Ambassador to Japan, during an interview in Tokyo, March 17, 2022.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

In “This Week,” Stephanopoulos asked Emanuel to reflect on Abe’s legacy in Japan and, specifically, what he meant to the United States.

“We all talk about a free and open Indo-Pacific – that was his design. So we actually operate within the strategic perspective and architecture that he designed. Secondly, he originated the concept of ‘a quad,” Emanuel said. “The idea that India, the United States, Japan and Australia would all work together as a team; and two presidents now, from two parties, work with this as if it were their own.”

“He was also the author with the president [Barack] Obama of the strategic integration of the trans-Pacific economy of the entire region with the United States. On every level…he’s the original author,” Emanuel said.

Abe could be “ruthless” and “tough”, Emanuel said. But he pursued his idea of ​​Japan effectively.

“He was a visionary who had a vision and an idea of ​​where he was going, where he wanted to take Japan, where he wanted to take the region. And then he was ruthless enough, tough enough and strategic enough to see it and see it. ‘run. through,’” Emanuel said.

Emanuel, having known Abe on a personal level, was questioned by Stephanopoulos about what kind of man he was. Although Abe resigned as Prime Minister, he remained active in Conservative politics.

“He had a great sense of humor. His mind was always on the move. He was always on the move and he had a built-in strategic sense. And he also had the sense, as I tried to put it, when I spoke — he was a Japanese statesman, a world leader and a dear friend of the United States,” Emanuel said.

He said he was able to visit Abe’s family on Sunday, whom he had met before.

“He saw the United States and Japan as an unstoppable partnership,” Emanuel said. “The relationship between the United States and Japan was once an alliance protection relationship. Due to his vision, it is now an alliance projection relationship in the Indo-Pacific region.”

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