‘Barbaric shooting’ of former Japanese PM Abe Shinzo leaves QUAD leaders in shock

67-year-old former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised the concept of the "Quad security partnership" between Japan, the US, Australia and India. 

By Amit Sarwal and Jai Bharadwaj

67-year-old former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who collapsed after apparently being shot in the chest while delivering a speech in Nara City on Friday passed away in a local hospital after a “cardiopulmonary arrest.”

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The local fire department said that the Japanese ex-PM was rushed to a local hospital and was to be transferred by medevac to Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara City in the prefecture.

Police said Abe was shot from behind with a shotgun, and police were able to detain the 42-year old assailant and retrieved a gun from the scene.

Mr Abe was campaigning on a street for Liberal Democratic Party candidate at the House of Councillors election, scheduled this Sunday when he collapsed at around 11: 30 am after people on the scene heard what sounded like a gun going off twice, local media reported.

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida told media that attack on Shinzo Abe is “barbaric & malicious”:

“It is a barbaric act that took place during the election which is the base of democracy. It is absolutely unforgivable.”

After this unfortunate turn of events, QUAD leaders have paid their respects to to the late Shinzo Abe. Australia’s PM Anthony Albanese has expressed his shock at “the tragic death of former Japanese PM Abe Shinzo.” He tweeted:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a deep bond of friendship with Shinzo Abe said he was “deeply distressed” by the attack on his “dear friend Shinzo Abe”. He tweeted:

“In the passing away of Mr. Abe, Japan and the world have lost a great visionary. And, I have lost a dear friend.”

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PM Modi has also penned a heartfelt blog entitled ‘My Friend, Abe San‘ in memory of “an outstanding leader of Japan, a towering global statesman, and a great champion of India-Japan friendship.”

PM Narendra Modi with PM Shinzo Abe (Twitter)

Mr Abe shared a deep bond of friendship with PM Modi which was quite evident in the meeting between both leaders in the month of May.

The meeting illustrated the huge goodwill and personal chemistry of PM Modi with the former Japanese PM. As a mark of respect for former PM Shinzo, India’s PM Modi has even announced a one day national mourning on 9 July 2022.

Australia’s former PM and presently the Federal Member for Cook Scott Morrison expressed grief on this “devastating tragedy.”

PM Abe with PM Morrison (Facebook)

Mr Morrison wrote on his Facebook page:

“The assassination of former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is a truly devastating tragedy. He possessed a grace and strength that redefined the course of his country and our region. I will never forget the humility he displayed when he visited Darwin to lay this wreath at the cenotaph and meet with our WWII veterans. He had the capacity to bridge history and shape the future. He combined a gentle nature with a giant political stature. He will be terribly missed. Vale my dear friend Shinzo. Love to Akie Abe and the people of Japan. We share in your awful grief.”

President of the United States Joe Biden in a tweet said that he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed.”

India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar called it a personal loss. He tweeted: “no words to express them.”

Mr Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons. He was the grandson of former prime minister Nobusuke Kishi and prime minister of Japan twice, from 2006-2007 and again from 2012-2020. He was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga and later by Fumio Kishida.

Mr Abe is well-known for introducing a unique economic policy – “Abenomics” – which is based on introducing structural reforms, deficit spending, and quantitative easing. He was also the leader to originally raise the concept of the “Quad security partnership” between Japan, the US, Australia and India and coin the phrase “free and open Indo-Pacific.” 

News of political and gun violence is rare in Japan, and at the time of this report, therefore the assailant’s motives are not known yet. However, there are reports the suspect is a former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces.