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Utah, national leaders react to assassination of Japan’s Shinzo Abe

SHARE Utah, national leaders react to assassination of Japan’s Shinzo Abe
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media as he arrives at the prime minister’s office.

Japan’s outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media as he arrives at the prime minister’s office for a Cabinet meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 16, 2020. Abe, a divisive arch-conservative and one of his nation’s most powerful and influential figures, has died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, hospital officials said.

Eugene Hoshiko, Associated Press

Utah and national leaders joined the world in mourning the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo, a man they described as a statesman and friend of the United States.

Abe, 67, was shot Friday while giving a campaign speech in the western city of Nara ahead of parliamentary election this weekend. He was rushed to a hospital but died a few hours later. Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister until he resigned in 2020, citing health issues.

Police arrested the suspected gunman, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagishi, at the scene. Police said he confessed to the shooting and told them he held a grudge against a group he believed was connected to Abe.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called Abe a “true and everlasting friend” of the United States.

Abe, he said in a tweet, “served his country with honor — a visionary leader who did much to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance. My heart is with his family and loved ones, and the people of Japan.”

“He was a remarkable statesman of the first class. My heart is with his family and the people of Japan during this difficult time,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, tweeted.

President Joe Biden tweeted, “I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed. He was a champion of the friendship between our people. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief.”

“Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD,” former President Donald Trump said in a statement.

Trump said few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind.

“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,” Trump said.

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“I am shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner Shinzo Abe in Japan. Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement.