President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie at the White House.

Rafu Staff and Wire Reports

WASHINGTON — Current and former U.S. leaders expressed sadness over the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning in Nara on July 8.

The White House said in a statement: “President Biden called Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida of Japan today to express his outrage, sadness and deep condolences on the tragic and violent shooting death of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. The President underscored that he and the American people stand with the Prime Minister and the people of Japan in their time of mourning.

“The President noted the importance of Prime Minister Abe’s enduring legacy with his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and the establishment of the QUAD meetings of Japan, the United States, Australia and India. The President noted our unwavering confidence in the strength of Japan’s democracy and the two leaders discussed how Abe Shinzo’s legacy will live on as we continue the important task of defending peace and democracy.”

Biden also issued a joint statement with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “We, the leaders of Australia, India, and the United States, are shocked at the tragic assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Abe was a transformative leader for Japan and for Japanese relations with each one of our countries. He also played a formative role in the founding of the Quad partnership, and worked tirelessly to advance a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited President Donald Trump in the U.S. and hosted him in Japan.

“Our hearts are with the people of Japan — and Prime Minister Kishida— in this moment of grief. We will honor Prime Minister Abe’s memory by redoubling our work towards a peaceful and prosperous region.”

Biden visited the residence of Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Koji Tomita to leave a note offering his condolences, and ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff through Sunday in Abe’s memory.

Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted, “Doug and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the Japanese people. He was a close friend of the United States and on this tragic day, we stand with our Japanese friends in honoring him and condemning this horrific act of violence.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Indonesia for a Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting, told reporters, “This is shocking. It’s profoundly disturbing in and of itself.”

“Together with the people of the United States, I offer my sincerest condolences on the tragic passing of former Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo,” he said in a statement later. “Prime Minister Abe was a global leader and unwavering ally and friend of the United States, whose vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific lifted our alliance cooperation to new heights.

“We offer our thoughts to Prime Minister Abe’s family and the people of Japan. Together with them and the world, we mourn his passing.”

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel tweeted, “I, along with all Americans, am deeply saddened by the news that former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has passed away.

“Prime Minister Abe was a leader ahead of his time. The public recognized that, which is why he was the longest-serving prime minister in modern Japanese history.

“A Japanese statesman. A world leader. A friend of America. The clarity of his voice will be truly missed. The United States has lost a trusted partner and an outspoken advocate for our shared ideals.”

Former President Donald Trump said in a post on a social media platform he launched that Abe’s death is “Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD!”

“His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly,” Trump said, adding that Abe was “a unifier like no other” and will “be greatly missed.”

Ivanka Trump, who worked with Abe and other world leaders as a representative of her father’s administration, said on social media, “I am deeply saddened by the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a truly historic figure and leader of lasting consequence. Abe’s advice, wisdom and warmth had a profound impact on me during my government service. My heart is with his family and the Japanese people as the world mourns the passing of a great man.”

On Facebook, former President Barack Obama posted a photo of himself with Abe at the White House with the following message: “I am shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner Shinzo Abe in Japan. Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan.

“I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance, the moving experience of traveling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, and the grace he and his wife Akie Abe showed to me and Michelle. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, who are very much in our thoughts at this painful moment.”

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