Washington: US President Joe Biden condoled the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and said that he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened” by the news.

“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. This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him,” he said in a statement.

“The longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure as he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service. Even at the moment, he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy,” Biden added as he recalled his past interactions with Shinzo Abe.

Joe Biden also condemned the increase in violent attacks globally, especially gun violence, and said they always leave a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it.

“As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington. He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people,” the White House quoted Biden as saying, underlining that the United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief.

I send my deepest condolences to his family, the White House release said, quoting Biden.

Former US President Donald J Trump also expressed his frief and said, “Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is dead. He was assassinated. His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly.”

He was a unifier like no other, Trump said, adding that 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!

Shinzo Abe, who had been the longest-serving Japanese prime minister Abe first became Prime Minister in 2006. He again held the post in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2017. He announced his resignation in August 2020 as a chronic illness resurfaced. He was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga and later by Fumio Kishida.

Abe visited India during his first stint and addressed the Parliament. His fondness for India was reflected in his visits, the most by any Japanese Prime Minister.

Shinzo Abe was shot on Friday while delivering a campaign speech in Nara city in western Japan.

After the attack on him, Abe was rushed to hospital and initial media reports citing authorities said that it appeared that the former Japanese PM was shot in the chest. They described his condition as in “cardiopulmonary arrest” and said he showed no vital signs.

Public broadcaster NHK later reported, citing ruling Liberal Democratic Party sources that Abe, had died. Abe died at 5:03 pm (local time) and had two gunshot wounds in his neck, according to officials from Nara Medical University Hospital.

Police arrested a suspect for shooting Abe identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old resident of Nara City, according to local media. A gun that appeared to be handmade was retrieved from the site where Abe was campaigning for a candidate ahead of Sunday’s elections for Japan’s upper house of Parliament.

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