Political figures from across the world paid tribute to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following the news of his death Friday after he was shot during a stump speech in western Japan's Nara Prefecture.
In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was "stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news."
"He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people," he said, adding that Abe's "vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was "shocked and saddened beyond words" and shared a photo of his last meeting with his "dear friend" Abe, who died at age 67. He praised his "immense contribution to elevating India-Japan relations" and said India would observe a day of national mourning Saturday.
I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe. He was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 8, 2022
"China is shocked," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference. He added that Abe had "made contributions to promoting the improvement and development of China-Japan relations."
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was quoted as saying by the presidential office, "I send my words of consolation and condolences to the bereaved family and Japanese people, who lost the longest-serving prime minister and respected politician."
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen called Abe's death a "brutal and cowardly murder" and said a "wonderful person, great democrat and champion of the multilateral world order has passed away."
The office of Russian President Vladimir Putin said he conveyed his "deepest condolences" to Abe's mother, Yoko and wife, Akie. He called the former prime minister an "exceptional politician" who contributed significantly to Russo-Japanese ties and said his memory would remain in his heart.
Aiming to make a breakthrough in negotiations over a territorial row, Abe met with Putin over 20 times during his tenure from 2012 to build personal trust and promote joint economic activities on disputed islands.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands ahead of their talks in Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept. 5, 2019. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a statement, "Under his leadership Japan emerged as one of Australia's closest and most like-minded partners in Asia." On behalf of Australia, he also offered "deepest sympathies and condolences to Mrs. Abe and to Mr. Abe's other family and friends, and to the people of Japan."
Shocked and saddened by the tragic death of former Japanese PM Abe Shinzo. He was a great friend and ally to Australia. Deepest sympathies to his family and the people of Japan. We mourn with you. pic.twitter.com/ms9Va9OPN4— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 8, 2022
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Abe was "always focused, thoughtful and generous" and described how he expressed condolences for her cat's passing in their first bilateral meeting. "This act of violence against Japan's longest serving Prime Minister is unfathomable," she wrote in condemnation of his shooting.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, through a government spokesman, expressed grief over Abe's death, praising him as "a key driver to the bilateral relationship between Thailand and Japan."
"On behalf of the Thai government and the Thai people, I wish to convey our deepest condolence to the family, Japanese government, and the Japanese people for this loss," the prime minister was quoted as saying.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was "deeply saddened" by Abe's death. "The world has lost a great man of vision, and Canada has lost a close friend," he said.
In a tweet, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Abe's passing "incredibly sad news" and said his leadership through times of geopolitical uncertainty "will be remembered by many."
Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 8, 2022
His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people.
The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, "With the death of Shinzo Abe in an act of shocking violence, Australia has lost a great friend and Japan has lost its most significant post-war leader. Under Abe, Japan assumed its rightful place as the leading democracy of the western Pacific."
With the death of Shinzo Abe in an act of shocking violence, Australia has lost a great friend and Japan has lost its most significant post-war leader.— Tony Abbott (@HonTonyAbbott) July 8, 2022
Under Abe, Japan assumed its rightful place as the leading democracy of the western Pacific. pic.twitter.com/wDFzX8D4L1
After he was shot while giving a speech near a train station, Abe was taken to a hospital in Nara Prefecture, where he was pronounced dead. The gunman, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder, according to police.
Meanwhile, North Korean media did not mention Abe's assassination in their reports Friday. North Korea has in recent years accused the former Japanese leader of plunging bilateral ties into a low due to his critical stance toward Pyongyang over the abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.