Abe Shinzo has succumbed to his wounds.
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, died on Friday at 67, after being shot while campaigning for a candidate ahead of national elections.
The police arrested a suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, on an initial charge of attempted murder before Mr. Abe’s death was announced.
The Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency said that Mr. Abe had been shot in his right neck and left chest. Footage on social media showed Mr. Abe collapsed and bleeding on the ground in the western city of Nara, near Kyoto.
I’m no expert in Japanese politics but Abe may have been the single most important figure in post-Cold War Japan, and arguably in Japanese politics since 1945. His influence on Japanese foreign and defense policy was enormous and dramatic.
Abe built off Japan’s long-standing security alliance with the United States. Wary of an assertive China, he also developed close ties between Japan, Asia’s richest democracy, and India, the region’s most populous. Abe was a strong proponent of the Quad, an informal gathering of Japan, India, Australia and the United States that is a counterweight to Beijing. He also joined forces with Australia to save a major regional trade deal after Washington pulled out.
But relations with Tokyo’s closest neighbors were strained during his time in office. He bolstered right-wing nationalists by visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors, among others, World War II war criminals. Abe also enacted laws to allow Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to fight alongside allies overseas, in a move that alarmed South Korea and angered China.
Gun violence in Japan is extremely rare in large part because gun ownership is tightly controlled, which is probably why the shooter had to build his own gun.
It is absolutely insane to think that Abe may be the first person murdered by a gun in Japan in 2022, which is to say that it’s absolutely insane how we think about guns in the United States.
There’s no clear indication of the motive of the shooter, other than a claim that he intended to kill and that he was dissatisfied with Abe. Obviously there’s a lot more to come, including more thorough discussion of the assassin’s intent and of the impact of the murder.