KUALA LUMPUR (Malaysia) -- Leaders from all walks of the globe condemned Friday's assassination by Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister, as "despicable," cowardly, and terrorist, while remembering him as a man who is committed to international security, peace, and cooperation.
As governments and countries expressed their sorrow and solidarity with Japan for the passing of Abe (Japan's longest-serving leader, before he resigned in 2020 due to health reasons), tributes came flooding in.
Abe, 67 years old, was giving a speech during a campaign speech in Nara, western Japan. After being airlifted to the hospital, he was declared dead. This attack was particularly shocking in one the most secure countries on earth, where guns are tightly controlled.
U.S. President Joe Biden stated he was shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by the death of Abe. He visited the Japanese ambassador's residence on Friday to express his condolences. He laid a bouquet of flowers near a koi-pond table and said in a condolence booklet that Abe was a "man of peace and judgement."
Biden stated that "this is a tragedy to Japan and all those who knew him." His vision of an Indo-Pacific that is free and open will not be lost. He was a deeply caring person who gave his life for the Japanese people.
Fumio Kishida (Japan's Prime Minister) has returned from campaign events in Japan and condemned the "unforgivable" act. He also said that campaigning will continue as well as Sunday’s elections for the upper house of parliament.
"The root of democracy is a free and fair election that must be protected regardless of what. Kishida stated that violence will not defeat us.
Biden described Kishida as "a very solid man" and stated that he didn't believe the killing would have any "profound, destabilizing effect on Japanese security or Japanese solidarity."
The attack was condemned by leaders from Turkey to Singapore. Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, and the French Foreign Ministry called the shooting "despicable" and Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister, said it was "cowardly."
After Brazil's U.N. president, Abe was assassinated, the U.N. Security Council paid silent tribute. Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho expressed his sadness at the assassination.
Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary General, said Abe will be remembered as "a staunch defender and supporter multilateralism", a respected leader and supporter United Nations, Guterres stated. Guterres also said Abe was committed in promoting peace, security, and championing U.N. goals for development and advocating universal health coverage.
Queen Elizabeth II wrote that she had fond memories of meeting Mr. Abe's wife and him during their 2016 visit to the United Kingdom. His love for Japan and his desire for closer ties with the United Kingdom were evident.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zilenskyy sent his condolences to his family, and to the people of Japan in this difficult time. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol referred to the shooting as "an intolerable crime act", his office stated.
Iran claimed it was "an act terrorist."
"As a country which has been the victim of terrorist attacks and has lost great leaders, we are closely following the news with concern," said an Iranian spokesperson for Foreign Ministry.
NHK, a public broadcaster, broadcast a dramatic video showing Abe giving an address outside of a Nara train station. Two gunshots can be heard as he stands in a navy suit and raises his fist when he is struck. Abe then collapses on the street as the video shows.
Jordan's King Abdullah 2 expressed shock and sadness. The monarch posted, "The world lost an extraordinary leader, and Jordan and me lost a true friend."
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, said Abe was among her first leaders after she took office. She described him as generous and kind and deeply committed to his job.
NHK video shows security guards jumping on top of a man wearing a gray shirt and lying face down on the ground. On the ground, you can see a double-barreled weapon that looked like a handgun.
A suspect was arrested by police on the spot. Japanese law makes it illegal to possess firearms without a license. It is also illegal to import them.
Leaders from Germany and Pakistan, Sweden, the Philippines, and Sweden were among those who offered condolences. Many countries, including France and Spain, expressed solidarity with Japan. As a sign of deepest sympathy for Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a day de mourning on Saturday
"Mr. Abe made a tremendous contribution in elevating India-Japan relations up to the level of special strategic and global partnerships. Modi stated that India is mourning with Japan today and stood in solidarity with its Japanese brothers and sister in this difficult time.
Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, said Abe was a "giant" on the international stage and that his legacy had been one of "global impact and a profoundly positive one for Australia."
Angela Merkel, former German Chancellor, stated that her time in office between 2005-2021 was largely the same as Abe's. She said she was "deeply stunned and devastated" at the "cowardly, and vile assassination."
Taiwan's government stated that Abe "spared no effort to press for the progress Taiwan-Japan relations over many years," referring to his efforts during the COVID-19 epidemic for the Japanese government in donating vaccines to Taiwan.
Mario Draghi, Italian Premier, stated that Italy embraces Abe's family and government.
Italy is devastated by the attack on Japan and its free, democratic discussion. Draghi stated that Abe was a prominent protagonist in Japanese and international politics in recent decades due to his reformist vision and innovative spirit."
Anniken Huitfeldt, Norwegian Foreign Minister, noted that Abe was shot while he was campaigning for fellow party members. Politicians should feel safe as they carry out their duties for democracy.
Retno Marsudi is the Indonesian Foreign Minister and president of the Group of 20 countries' foreign ministers meeting at Bali, Indonesia. He said that Abe will be "always remembered as a prime model for all".
International Olympic Committee (IOC) praised Abe's "vision, determination, and dependability" which allowed it to delay the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Olympic Committee stated that the Olympic flag would be flown at half-staff at Olympic House in Lausanne during three days.
Donald Trump, former President of the United States, stated that he hopes Abe's murderer will be dealt with swiftly and harshly. He stated that Abe was "a unifier unlike any other" but, above all, he loved Japan and treasured it.
However, Abe's shooting in China drew negative comments from tens to thousands of Chinese nationalists on social media.
Some said, "Hope that he's OK," while others joked about the shooter being "a hero or anti-Japan hero" and called Abe's injuries a comfort for the souls of those who were killed in the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.
Although not necessarily the views of all Chinese, these posts show strong public sentiment -- fueled by government propaganda -- against right wing Japanese politicians that question or deny Japan's atrocities in China.
Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stated that China had expressed sympathy with Abe's family. He also said that China should not be linked to bilateral relations.
This report was contributed by Associated Press journalists from around the globe.