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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shot during campaign event in Nara

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US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said he was shocked and saddened by the news of the shooting.

“Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and an unwavering ally of the United States,” Emanuel said in a statement Friday. “The US government and the American people pray for the well-being of Abe-san, his family and the people of Japan.”

Speaking from Indonesia, where he is attending a G-20 foreign ministers meeting, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said how “deeply saddened and deeply concerned we are by the news from Japan about the attempt on the life of former Prime Minister Ab .”

“Our thoughts, our prayers are with him and his family, with the people of Japan,” said Blinken. “This is a very, very sad moment and we are waiting for news from Japan.”

Abe comes from Japan’s political elite and as prime minister, he had made the revival of economic growth through his ‘Abenomics’ policy a key pillar of his tenure.

While Abe was praised for raising Japan’s profile on the global stage, scandal plagued his party and accused him of mishandling the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abe’s discharge two years ago came amid an aggravation of his ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel condition he had battled for years.

He made the announcement days after setting a record as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, having held office for nearly eight years. Before that, he was Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007.

In a post on his Truth Social platform late Thursday, former President Donald Trump called Abe “a truly wonderful man and leader.”

“He was a true friend of mine and, more importantly, America,” Trump said. “This is a huge blow to the wonderful people of Japan who loved and admired him so much. We all pray for Shinzo and his beautiful family!”

Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump after he was elected president in November 2016.

Arata Yamamoto was reporting from Tokyo, and Jennifer Jett was reporting from Hong Kong.

Claire Cardona and Olivier Fabre contributed

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