Abe, 67, was giving a campaign speech in western Japan when he was shot, and later died from his wounds. The 41-year-old man suspected of killing Abe has been arrested. Abe was giving a speech for a candidate running for re-election in parliament.
Many world leaders responded to the news calling Abe a friend and praising him for his diplomacy. Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, said that the nation had lost a “close friend.”
“Not only has the international community lost an important leader, but Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend. Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with the rule of law, and our government severely condemns violent and illegal acts,” Tsai stated.
During his political career, Abe had been vocal about the need for the U.S. and Japan to support Taiwan, drawing ire from many in China.
“A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-U.S. alliance. People in Beijing, President Xi Jinping in particular, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this,” the former prime minister said back in December.
Other Asian leaders, including those in China, commented on the attack.
“This unexpected incident should not be linked with China-Japan relations,” Chinese spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that the country was “shocked.”
Bloomberg reported that many in China were reportedly celebrating the news, with one social media user saying, “Let the celebrations begin!” following Abe’s death.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called the assassination an “intolerable criminal act.”
In India, a day of mourning has been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remember Abe.
“Mr. Abe made an immense contribution to elevating India-Japan relations to the level of a special strategic and global partnership. Today, whole India mourns with Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this difficult moment,” he said.
Iran called the assassination an “act of terrorism.”
“As a country that has been a victim of terrorism and has lost great leaders to terrorists, we are following the news closely and with concern,” a spokesperson for the Iran Foreign Ministry said.
President Joe Biden, as well as former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, all commented on the assassination.
“This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him. I had the privilege to work closely with Prime Minister Abe,” Biden said. “The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service.”
Trump called the news “devastating” and said it was “a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much.”
Obama said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news of Abe’s assassination.