Understanding the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated during a campaign rally near a train station in Nara. To understand this event, here are some elements to better understand this politician’s importance on the world stage.

Posted at 12:20 p.m

what you need to know

  • Shinzo Abe delivers a late morning speech near a train station in Nara during a campaign rally ahead of Sunday’s Senate election;
  • He was taken to the hospital at 12:20 p.m. local time. He died at 5:03 p.m. local time;
  • A man in his forties was immediately disarmed and arrested;
  • The suspect is said to be a 41-year-old Japanese man who was once a member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force;
  • Japanese police raid suspect’s home;
  • “The suspect said he had a grudge against a particular organization and that he had confessed to committing the crime because he believed former Prime Minister Abe had ties to him,” a police official said;
  • China says it is ‘shocked’ by attack on Shinzo Abe;
  • “This is a very, very sad moment,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken;
  • Russia condemned “a monstrous crime” and an “act of terrorism that has and cannot have any justification.”

Who is Shinzo Abe?

  • Born September 21, 1954 in Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture;
  • He was Prime Minister from September 2006 to September 2007. He returned to power in December 2012 and will hold the post until September 2020;
  • He had a profound impact on political life and defied numerous political and financial scandals around him and those close to him;
  • Shinzo Abe has made a name for himself above all abroad with his economic policy called “Abenomics”, which he launched at the end of 2012;
  • Their economic policies combined monetary easing, massive fiscal stimulus and structural reforms.
  • It has had some successes, such as a significant increase in the labor force participation rates of women and the elderly, and increased reliance on immigration to address labor shortages;
  • In the absence of sufficient structural reforms, Abenomics has only achieved partial success;
  • In the summer of 2020, after making himself unpopular for his management of the pandemic, which public opinion saw as clumsy, he admitted he had inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and resigned shortly thereafter.

Japan and weapons

Japan has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world, and the annual death toll from such guns in the country of 125 million people is extremely low.

Obtaining a gun license is a long and complicated process, even for Japanese nationals, who must first obtain a recommendation from a shooting club and then undergo a strict police check.

Political Reactions

French President Emmanuel Macron

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

President Draghi offers his sincere condolences to the government and to himself on the death of Shinzo Abe. Italy is shocked by the terrible attack that is affecting Japan in its free democratic debate.

President of the Italian Council

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Deeply saddened by the heinous murder of Shinzo Abe, a pro-democracy advocate and my longtime friend and colleague. My deepest condolences to his family, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (@Kishida230) and the people of Japan, a NATO partner, at this difficult time.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Former US President Barack Obama

I am shocked and saddened by the murder of my longtime friend and partner, Shinzo Abe. Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan.

Former US President Barack Obama

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

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