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US Ambassador to Japan calls Shinzo Abe a ‘visionary’ and said that his assassination is ‘a shock to the culture’

In this April 22, 2019, file photo, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel arrives at a news conference outside of the south air traffic control tower at O’Hare International Airport. President Joe Biden is nominating former Emanuel to serve as his envoy to Japan.

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File

  • Amb. Rahm Emanuel shared Japan’s reaction to the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  • “This is a total shock to the system,” Rahm Emanuel told ABC News on Sunday.
  • Abe was fatally shot while giving a speech on Friday. 

US Ambassador to Japan says that the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has left the country aghast. 

“It’s a shock around the world, but it’s clearly a shock here in Japan, not just because gun violence is so rare,” Rahm Emanuel said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “But also, you know, this is a nation that’s an island, and a lot of what ails other countries, it is immune and feels immune. It’s a very trusting society.

“To have something like this is a total shock to the system, a shock to the culture,” Emanuel continued. 

—This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 10, 2022

Abe was shot and killed while giving a speech outside a train station in Nara on Friday. Japanese officials said that Abe was shot in the neck and was also bleeding from his left chest, Insider reported. A 41-year-old man, identified as Yamagami Tetsuya, was arrested and during questioning, he reportedly told police he “was dissatisfied with former Prime Minister Abe and aimed to kill him.”

As Emanuel noted, the assassination of the longest-serving prime minister left Japan shocked, especially as a country that has strict gun laws, resulting in incredibly low gun-related deaths.  President Joe Biden called Abe’s death a “tragedy” and “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened.”

“The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief,” Biden said. “I send my deepest condolences to his family.”

During an interview with ABC, Emanuel touted Abe as “a visionary who had a vision and a sense of where he was going, where he wanted to take Japan, where he wanted to take the region.”

“He is a big figure that has pervaded across the political stage here for over a decade,” Emanuel said. “I could tell you this hasn’t been totally absorbed into the society or the politics. People are walking around with a sense of disbelief.”

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