The Shocking Murder of Shinzō Abe
Former Prime Minister of Japan Assassinated
July 8 will be noted forever as one of the saddest days in modern Japanese history. On this day, Shinzō Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, was felled by an assassin’s gun. Like the rest of the world, here at Japonica, we are shocked and saddened by the news.
Shinzo Abe (安倍 晋三) was the prime minister of Japan for a short stint from 2006–2007 before resigning for health reasons. He returned for a more consequential term from 2012–2020, making him the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history.
Abe was born in 1954 to a prominent political family in Yamaguchi Prefecture. One grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was prime minister and one of the founders of the LDP political party that has dominated Japanese politics throughout the post-war period. His other grandfather was a Diet (parliament) MP, and his father was an MP and cabinet minister.
He attended Seikei University in Tokyo before moving to the U.S. to study at the University of Southern California (USC). Returning to Japan, he worked for Kobe Steel before entering politics with the LDP. He was first elected to the Diet, taking over his father’s seat, in 1991.
As a prime minister, he was known for his nationalistic, hard right policies and his unrealized desire to change the pacifist constitution to allow Japan to maintain regular military forces. On the economic front, “Abenomics” attempted to implement fiscal, monetary, and deregulatory policies to buoy the moribund Japanese economy. Fluent in English, he was one of the few foreign leaders able to build a personal relationship with American President Trump.
In Sept. 2020, during the Covid pandemic and amidst multiple scandals, citing recurring health issues, Abe resigned as prime minister. However, he remained an MP in the Diet and behind the scenes, a kingmaker in the LDP. He was campaigning for an LDP representative in Nara for an upcoming election when he was assassinated.
The assassination by a lone shooter with a homemade shotgun shocked the nation. Gun violence in Japan is exceedingly rare, as is political violence. Even protests are uncommon and always peaceful. Japan is known as the safest country on earth.
The gunman was able to approach within a few meters of Abe and shot him twice. Abe was airlifted to a local hospital, but he eventually succumbed to his severe injuries. We won’t grace this article with the name or nonsense the shooter cited as the reason for the assassination.
This is a sad day for all of us. We hope some good, somehow, can come out of this senseless shocking murder.
Here at Japonica we’d like to offer our condolences on Abe’s death to his family.
We hope you rest in peace, Shinzō Abe
Sept 21, 1954 — July 8, 2022
If you’d like to join us, please leave your condolences in the comments.