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US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo on Saturday to express his condolences for the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to statements by the US Department of Defense and Japanese Ministry of Defense.
The two leaders discussed former Abe’s “bold and visionary leadership, which took the U.S.-Japan Alliance relationship to new heights and left a legacy of a more secure, stable, and prosperous region,” a statement from the US Department of Defense said.
In a tweet, Japan's defense ministry said Kishi "strongly condemned the despicable act that took place, and expressed his determination to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, carrying on the legacy of former Prime Minister Abe.”
The two leaders "confirmed a shared dedication to realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific, a vision that Prime Minister Abe championed,” the US statement added.
The body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Tokyo on Saturday after he was assassinated in the city of Nara. As Japan reels from the shocking shooting, here's what we know so far.
Funeral arrangements for Abe: The funeral for Abe will be held over Monday and Tuesday, his office told CNN, with a wake will be held on Monday, followed by a memorial service on Tuesday. The funeral will be hosted by his widow Akie Abe in a temple in Tokyo, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.
Police will review security: Japan's National Police Agency said it will review security arrangements put in place before Friday's shooting, according to NHK. Security was being handled by Nara prefectural police, which drew up a security plan for the former prime minister while he was in the city.
Nara Prefectural Police Chief Tomoaki Onizuka said he "can't deny there were problems" with Abe's security. In a press conference on Saturday, he said that authorities are looking into what went wrong in the lead-up to the former prime minister being shot. He added that he "take[s] responsibility" for the security failure that resulted in Abe's killing.
Suspect used homemade gun: The suspect in Abe's assassination said the weapon he used was homemade, Nara Nishi police told a news conference on Friday. Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, admitted to shooting Abe, police said. Yamagami, who is unemployed, told investigators he holds hatred toward a certain group that he thought Abe was linked to. Police have not named the group.
Yamagami made multiple types of guns with iron pipes that were wrapped in adhesive tape, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported, citing the police. The police found guns with three, five and six iron pipes as barrels. The suspect inserted bullets into the pipe of his homemade gun, parts for which he'd purchased online, NHK reported, citing police. Police believe the suspect used the strongest weapon he made in the assassination, NHK added.
Elections to take place Sunday: Japanese voters will go to the polls on Sunday despite the assassination of Abe just two days before elections were due to be held. At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of the election.
Pope Francis said he was deeply saddened over the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and offered his condolences to Abe's family and friends, as well as the people of Japan.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the assassination of Mr. Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends & the people of Japan. I pray Japanese society will be strengthened in its historic commitment to peace and nonviolence,” according to a tweet from the Pope's official account on Saturday.
The police chief of the prefecture where Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated said he "take[s] responsibility" for the security failure that resulted in his killing.
Nara Prefectural Police Chief Tomoaki Onizuka told a news conference Saturday that Abe's security personnel followed Onizuka's approved plan.
"After the first report of the incident came at 11:30 a.m., and the situation was revealed, it was the height of the guilt and regret I've felt in my 27 years in law enforcement," he said.
"I feel the weight of my responsibility," Onizuka added, sounding deeply emotional.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee has expressed “profound sadness” and “deepest sympathies” Saturday at the passing of Japan's former Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, according to a government statement.
"On behalf of the people and Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I express our sympathies to Mr Abe's family on the passing of Mr Abe," Lee said.
Hong Kong and Japan maintained closely co-operative relations when Mr Abe was in office as the Prime Minister of Japan, during which the two places enjoyed close ties and made positive progress in various areas including economic and trade affairs, tourism and cultural exchanges," Lee said.
"May he rest in peace," Lee added.
A police chief in the city where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot said he "can't deny there were problems" with Abe's security.
Tomoaki Onizuka, Nara Prefectural Police Chief, said in a press conference on Saturday that authorities are looking into what went wrong in the lead-up to Abe being shot.
That a former prime minster could be shot dead at close range while giving a speech in broad daylight in a country with one of the world's lowest rates of gun crime has shaken Japan and reverberated around the world.
Abe, 67, was pronounced dead at at 5:03 p.m. local time on Friday, just over five hours after being shot while delivering a campaign speech in front of a small crowd on a street.
At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking in support of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of Upper House elections on Sunday, which are still scheduled to go ahead.
Despite resigning as Japan's prime minister in 2020 due to health reasons, Abe remained an influential figure in the country's political landscape and continued to campaign for the LDP.
A supporter of the former Japanese prime minister has shared footage of a close interaction with Shinzo Abe before his death.
A video circulated on Twitter, originally posted on TikTok, shows footage of Abe greeting his supporters in public one day before he was fatally shot.
The video shows a supporter using their hands to create a heart. They captioned the TikTok "Yesterday, he (Abe) made a heart for me... today, he was shot... please take care."
The funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held over Monday and Tuesday, Abe’s office told CNN. A wake will be held on Monday, followed by a memorial service on Tuesday, Abe’s office said.
The funeral will be hosted by his widow Akie Abe in a temple in Tokyo, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.
The attendance will be limited to family members and people close to Abe, NHK added.