Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi offered his condolences to the people and government of Japan for the assassination of veteran politician and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.
In a message to Japan’s acting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida late Friday, Raeisi described the attack that resulted in Abe’s death earlier in the day as “inhumane.”
Abe died in hospital on Friday after being shot at a campaign rally in the southern city of Nara.
The assassinated politician was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, serving for one year in 2006 and again from 2012 to 2020.
He was campaigning for his former party, the Liberal Democratic Party, ahead of Sunday’s election.
“The deceased,” Raeisi wrote, “was a great statesman for the Japanese people and a global figure who played an important role in the development of the Islamic Republic’s historic relationship with Japan.”
“I extend my condolences and deepest sympathy to you and the kind Japanese government and people [over the tragedy]’ the Iranian President said in a letter.
Earlier on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also wrote to his Japanese counterpart Hayashi Yoshimasa, expressing his condolences and calling Abe “a remarkable leader who has played an important role in developments in the East Asian region.”
The top Iranian diplomat also called Abe’s initiatives and efforts to strengthen Japan’s ties with the Islamic Republic “valuable.”
World reacts to Abe’s assassination
Reactions to Abe’s assassination poured in from around the world, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing that July 9 would be a national day of mourning in India as a mark of “deep respect” for the late Japanese leader.
US President Joe Biden said he was “stunned, outraged and deeply saddened” by the news and remembered Abe as “the longest-serving Japanese prime minister”.
European Council President Charles Michel condemned the “cowardly” attack on Abe, calling him “a true friend” and a “fierce defender of the multilateral order and democratic values”.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Abe’s “global leadership” memorable.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Abe was one of Australia’s “closest friends on the world stage”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his “deepest condolences” to Abe’s family and Kishida in a tweet.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Japan issued a statement expressing shock at his killing and offering condolences to his family.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol offered condolences to the Japanese people and condemned the shooting as “an unforgivable act of crime.”
“Suspect confesses murder, grudge”
Meanwhile, reports quoted Nara police as saying that the suspected killer – identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami – admitted to the fatal shooting.
According to national broadcaster NHK, the suspect told police after his arrest that he was “frustrated that the former Prime Minister wanted to kill Abe”.
Police said the suspect confessed to harboring a “grudge” against a “certain organization” that he believed was part of Abe.
He used a hand-made weapon in the attack: a double-barreled device wrapped in black tape had been found on the ground near where Abe was shot.
“The first shot sounded like a toy bazooka,” an eyewitness told NHK. “He didn’t fall and there was a big bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see the spark and the smoke.”
According to Hidetada Fukushima, professor of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University Hospital, the former prime minister who was killed suffered two wounds on the front of his neck, about 5 cm apart.