Moments before being fatally shot in the back on Friday, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he was doing what he had done for decades: approach the crowd.
As is typical in Japan, where violent crime is rare and guns are in short supply, security seemed tight Friday morning when Abe spoke at an intersection outside Yamato-Saidaiji station on the Nara city.
Dressed in a dark jacket despite the summer heat, Abe called the crowdmany of them older, to re-elect Kei Sato, a candidate in next Sunday’s upper house elections.
Behind him, a man with glasses and beige cargo pants, opened fire with a homemade weapon which appeared to be wrapped in black electrical tape and a cloud of white smoke flew towards Abe and the crowd.
Hours after the former official’s death was confirmed, some Japanese flocked to the scene to pay tribute to Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, who sought to pull the economy out of chronic deflation with his bold “Abenomics” policiesstrengthen the army and counter China’s growing influence, died at the age of 67.
Shinzo, his people and the world, will be remembered as the prime minister who bet on restarting Japan’s economy. His biggest step was in 2016, when he secured the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Dressed as the Japanese icon Super MarioAbe appeared during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Games, to introduce Tokyo as the next host city.
But the success of the long-awaited Tokyo Games was finally undone by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the competition to be postponed until 2021. Abe declared a state of emergency months after the first cases were detected. And with it came strong criticism of his government for the low rate of testing for the virus.
He resigned in September 2020 without achieving his long-standing goal of revising the constitution or presiding over the Games, which had been postponed until 2021. due to the pandemic.
With information from Reuters