Assassination of Japanese Shinzo Abe

Japanese officials will soon begin discussing funeral arrangements for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated Friday in a daylight shooting spree, sending a nation unaccustomed to gun violence into a state of shock and anger.

On Saturday, the morning after the deadly shooting on a street in Nara, central Japan, a car believed to be carrying the body of the former world leader left Nara Medical University Hospital, where Abe was being treated, according to Japan’s public broadcaster. NHK.

His widow, Akie Abe, is traveling with her husband’s body back to Tokyo, where the family lives, before discussing funeral arrangements, Abe’s office told CNN.

In the wake of the murder, tearful mourners gathered to place flowers and kneel at a makeshift memorial outside Nara’s Yamato-Saidaiji Station, close to where Abe was killed.

That a former prime minister could be shot at close range while speaking in broad daylight in a country with one of the world’s lowest rates of gun-related crime has reverberated in Japan and the world. Presidents, prime ministers and other international leaders sent tributes to express their outrage and sadness at the assassination.

Abe, 67, was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. local time Friday, just over five hours after being shot while giving a campaign speech to a small crowd in the street.

At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of Sunday’s senate elections, which are still scheduled. Despite his resignation as prime minister of Japan in 2020 on health grounds, Abe remained an influential figure in the country’s political landscape and continued to campaign for the LDP.

Japanese “JFK Moment”: Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and has shaped the country’s politics for a generation.

He will be remembered for increasing defense spending, enacting the most dramatic shift in Japanese military policy in 70 years, and his grandiose experiment designed to lift the Japanese economy out of decades of stagnation, known as ‘ Abenomics’.

Tomohiko Taniguchi, a former special adviser to Abe, said the former prime minister was “one of Japan’s most transformative leaders” and described his assassination as the equivalent of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy.

“I think it will be equivalent to the JFK assassination … It was a day of sadness, grief, disbelief and for me enormous anger. People find it very difficult to digest reality,” Taniguchi said on Friday.

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