Shinzo Abe’s body has begun its journey back to Tokyo as politicians prepare to resume campaigning for Sunday’s upper house elections in the shadow of the assassination of Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
On Saturday morning, a hearse thought to have taken Abe’s body and, along with his wife Aki, left the hospital in Kashihara, where the former prime minister was treated after being shot from behind by a gunman during a campaign speech in the western city. was done after the killing. Why slogan? National broadcaster NHK said the body was believed to be on its way to its home in Tokyo.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – the party that led Abe – and other parties said they would resume campaigning on Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s vote, asking him and coalition partner Komito to consolidate their majority in parliament. are supposed to. Politicians said they are determined to show that murder cannot stop democracy.
Meanwhile, police are scrambling to establish a motive for the murder, amid the shock and anger of a politician being shot in broad daylight in one of the world’s safest societies.
The suspect, arrested at the scene of Friday’s shooting, was named by police as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a resident of Nara. Police said they wanted to kill Abe because he was “dissatisfied” with him on issues related to politics.
Police said the suspect said he was against a “specific organization” and believed Abe was part of it, with police saying it was unclear whether the unknown organization actually existed. He declined to name the organization, although several Japanese media outlets have described it as a religious group.
Police are investigating whether the suspect acted alone.
Nara Prefectural Police said they would look into whether security at Abe’s event – where he was calling on voters to re-elect his LDP ally Kei Sato – was strong enough amid criticism that it should have been stronger. .
Officials said no threats were made against Abe, whose death will almost certainly prompt politicians to reconsider the tradition of bringing them into close contact with voters.
Meanwhile, the process of paying tribute to the leader continues. On Saturday, the three member states of the Quad Grouping, which includes Japan, called Abe a “transformative leader for Japan and the Japanese relationship with each of our countries.”
“He played a constructive role in establishing the Quad partnership, and worked tirelessly to advance a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Joe Biden, Anthony Albanese and Narendra Modi in a joint statement from the US Told. Australian and Indian leaders.
Our hearts are with the people of Japan and Prime Minister Kishida at this time of grief. We will honor Prime Minister Abe’s memory by doubling down on our work towards a peaceful and prosperous region.
Even the regional powers Abe was struggling with expressed condolences. South Korea’s president, Eun Suk-yol, called the killing an “unacceptable act” and the Chinese embassy in Japan praised Abe’s “contribution to the improvement and development” of relations.
Separately, Albanese said that landmarks across Australia would be lit red and white in recognition of Japan’s loss. Biden – who previously said he was “shocked, angry and deeply saddened” – has ordered flags to be flown at half-mast on US government buildings.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply saddened by a murder that “has a deep blow to Japanese society”.
,[Abe] Will be remembered as a staunch defender of multilateralism, a respected leader and a supporter of the United Nations,” he said.
In Nara, an ancient capital in the west known for its Buddhist temples and free-roaming deer, a steady stream of mourners came to remember its former leader, a man who was easily one of the nation’s most He was a recognizable politician.
Alone and in pairs, they proceeded to keep flowers, sports drink bottles, pieces of watermelon wrapped in cellophane, and bags of sweets. He bowed down and folded his hands in prayer; As the TV cameras turned to the side, some shed tears and lowered their heads again.
“I just couldn’t sit back and do nothing. I had to come,” said 54-year-old Nara resident Sachi Nagafuji, visiting the scene with his son.
Abe was a divisive leader, loved by conservatives who grew tired of decades of official soul-searching on Japan’s wartime conduct, but loathed by progressives, who watched in horror as they stunned their party in parliament. The comfortable majority was used to loosen some legal shackles. Army, better known as Self Defense Forces.
Among his fans was Rami Miyamoto, a 23-year-old company employee who stopped to watch Abe’s speech on the way to a work meeting. “I am in a state of shock,” she said. “I followed Abe’s career as prime minister and admired what he was trying to do for Japan. I will remember him as a man who faced great challenges but always came back and Move on. I will never forgive anyone who does this.”
With Reuters and the agency France-Presse