Joe Biden ‘Outraged’ Over Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Assassination
President Joe Biden said he was “outraged” at the news of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination Friday.
“I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. “This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him.”
Biden said the two worked together in strengthening the alliance between the U.S. and Japan.
“As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington,” Biden said. “He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people. The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure.”
Abe was shot while he was speaking at a campaign event in western Japan. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. He was 67.
The killing shocked Japan and the world, in part because the country has some of the world’s strictest gun laws. A male suspect in his 40s was arrested on the spot. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, had grievances with Abe that were not related to politics, according to reporting from Japan’s national broadcaster NHK cited by The Associated Press.
Abe also cultivated a relationship with Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump. Abe was one of the first foreign leaders to visit Trump after he was elected, meeting him in Trump Tower in November 2016, according to Politico.
Trump on Friday said he hoped Abe’s killer would “be dealt with swiftly and harshly,” in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.
“Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind,” Trump wrote. “He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him!”
Former President Barack Obama also denounced Abe’s killing, saying he was “shocked and saddened.”
“I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance, the moving experience of traveling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, and the grace he and his wife Akie Abe showed to me and Michelle,” Obama said.
The former Japanese leader gave an address before a joint meeting of Congress in April 2015, after the U.S. and Japan had signed a defense agreement, according to NPR.
“Let the two of us, America and Japan, join our hands together and do our best to make the world a better, a much better, place to live,” Abe said during those remarks.