Home Politics Shinzo Abe wanted to make Japan a “normal country” — as he saw it

Shinzo Abe wanted to make Japan a “normal country” — as he saw it

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The assassination of Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, shocks a peaceful country.

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday was shocking for many reasons: the rarity of political killings in an advanced democracy these days; the paucity of murders of any kind in Japan, long one of the world’s safest countries; the use of a gun in a nation that reportedly had just one shooting homicide in 2021.

But perhaps the most stunning thing of all was the assassin’s target: Abe, who had seemed to master the art of political resurrection as few leaders had in Japan or any other country.

Abe was shot while campaigning for a candidate in Japan’s upcoming upper house parliamentary elections on Friday morning in the city of Nara. The 67-year-old former prime minister, who had resigned in August 2020 because of ill health but remained a power broker within the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), had been speaking to the crowd for less than a minute when a pair of possible gunshots were heard. Abe suffered wounds to his right neck and left chest, and was pronounced dead shortly before 5 pm local time.

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