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Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, 67, Assassinated During Speech

The former prime minister of Japan was assassinated on Friday in the city of Nara, while delivering a campaign speech. He served in the office longer than anyone before stepping down in 2020. The assassination has rattled Japan and its sense of identity as a peaceful country where violent crime, and political assassinations, are very rare.

Is this a prelude to more geopolitical strife in the Pacific region? 

New York Times reports…

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 graphic videos and photographs of Mr. Abe being gunned down during a lunchtime campaign rally in western Japan had stunned the nation on Friday. Shock turned to grief when the former prime minister was declared dead in the early evening…

“When Shinzo Abe was prime minister of Japan, he worked assiduously to bring the historically strained relationship between Beijing and Tokyo to a more even keel. But in recent months, Mr. Abe had become increasingly vocal in his criticism of Beijing and support for Taiwan, a self-governed island claimed by Beijing.

His hard line stance had drawn Beijing’s ire. In December of last year, Mr. Abe told a forum that “a Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency,” and that Japan and the United States could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan.”

See more live updates on this story at NY Times

READ MORE JAPAN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Japan Files



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