Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listens to former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta during a visit to the Japanese American National Museum in 2015. (JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

A stunned world is watching, almost in real time, the events surrounding the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday as national and local leaders in the U.S. grieve the loss of one of Japan’s longest-serving political leaders.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “The brutal assassination of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saddens us all. The prime minister visited L.A. in 2015 and we hold fast to his vision for partnership and cooperation throughout the Pacific Rim. Los Angeles stands with Japan as we lift up the memory of Prime Minister Abe.”

Haru Takehana, president, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California: “The assassination attempt is extremely rare in a normally very peaceful country. I strongly condemn the violence.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers remarks at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles in May 2018. (JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

“Shinzo Abe visited the United States at the end of April 2015 and addressed a joint session of Congress. He subsequently stopped by Los Angeles, visited the Japanese American National Museum, and laid a wreath at the Go For Broke Monument.

“He expressed to Japanese American community leaders his wish to be the bridge for a peaceful and stable relationship between the United States and Japan. Then, he and his wife, Akie, took pictures with each community leader. I have kept the picture as a reminder of one of the best prime ministers in Japan’s history. My heartfelt condolences are extended to his family.”

Terry Hara, deputy chief (retired), LAPD: “I was shocked to learn about the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe! My condolences to the Abe family and the people of Japan. Tremendous loss of a great leader!” 

Mitch Maki, Ph.D., president and CEO, Go For Broke National Education Center: “Go For Broke National Education Center grieves the violent assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His untimely death and the manner in which it occurred is a loss to the nation of Japan, its allies, and all democracies.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe greets an MIS veteran during a visit to the Go For Broke Monument in Little Tokyo. (Courtesy Go For Broke National Education Center)

Carol L. Folt, president, University of Southern California: “The Trojan family is deeply saddened and shocked by the horrific shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a proud Trojan who last visited USC in 2015. Prime Minister Abe spent three semesters at USC from 1978-79, studying English and taking courses in political science, international relations and history. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Prime Minister Abe and all the people of Japan.”

(From left, front) USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Duncan Williams, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, prime minister’s wife Akie Abe and USC First Lady Niki Nikias. (From left, back) Kana Sugita, Jason Webb, Loris Meeks and Shannon Takushi during the PM’s visit to the University of Southern California, May 2, 2015. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture (Lori Meeks, Kana Sugita, Duncan Williams, Jason Paul Webb, Shannon Takushi): “USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture joins USC President Carol Folt in expressing profound shock and sadness about the sudden death of Former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. We extend our sincerest condolences to his wife Akie, his family, and those in Japan and around the world grieving his loss. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the cowardly and despicable act of terrorism that brought about his untimely death.

“Mr. Abe studied at USC from 1978-1979. In May of 2015, while serving as prime minister, he visited the Shinso Ito Center, then newly established on the USC University Park Campus. We arranged for the occasion a reunion with his original faculty mentor, Prof. Thomas H. Johnson, who traveled from Washington, D.C. to meet Mr. Abe. It was a joyous day, full of nostalgia for his USC student days and optimism about the years to come. We at the Center will cherish these memories. Shinzō Abe was a remarkably charismatic and effective leader. Across communities local, national, and global, his presence will be sorely missed.”

Ann Burroughs, president and CEO, Japanese American National Museum: “We are shocked and saddened by this horrific and violent act and the passing of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Abe was the longest-serving and most prominent political leader in Japan, with strong ties to the United States. It was JANM’s great honor to welcome Prime Minister Abe during his official state visit in 2015, where he acknowledged the special relationship and historic ties between Japan and the Japanese American community. We send our condolences to Prime Minister Abe’s family and to the Japanese people on this most sad occasion.”

Former JANM President and CEO Greg Kimura posted this 2015 photo with the following caption: “Shocking news out of Japan. Prayers for the repose of the soul of former PM Shinzo Abe and for his wonderful wife Akie. This picture was when I gave him a tour of JANM before a speech. Mr. Abe rearranged his schedule and took individual pictures with every board member. Very personable and committed to building strong relationships with the U.S.”

George Takei, actor and activist: “I greeted the news of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with shock and grief. Japan is a peaceful nation where gun violence is nearly non-existent. That a prominent, respected leader — now out of office — would be fatally shot at close range is both horrifying and numb-inducing.

“In 2015 I exchanged handshakes on two occasions with Prime Minister Abe and his wife Akie — at an Obama White House State Dinner held in his honor and at the Japanese American National Museum in L.A.

“A person of honor and dignity, he shall be missed; he shall be mourned.”

George Takei greets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie.

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