Trinidad and Tobago politicians shocked, saddened by ex-Japan PM’s assassination


Shinzo Abe waves as he leaves the prime minister’s office on September 16, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP photo)

FOREIGN and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne expressed shock and sadness at the assassination of former Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe, 67, was shot dead by a man with a homemade gun while campaigning in Japan’s parliamentary elections in the city of Nara on Friday.

Browne said, the Prime Minister has personally written to Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to express the Government’s formal condolences to him and to the people of Japan.

“I have discussed the matter with fellow foreign ministers of the Caribbean community (Caricom), I join with my peers in remembering the service of Japan’s longest serving prime minister, who had a particular interest and connection with the developing world including our region.”

Browne expressed condolences to Abe’s family and “to all those who were positively affected by his many years of service.”

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, who visited Japan in 2016 during Abe’s tenure as prime minister, said his thoughts and prayers are with Abe’s family, friends and his countrymen.

“As a citizen of TT and an elected member of parliament, I would like to extend my personal condolences and dismay at this horrific and tragic event leading to the loss of life of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.”

In a statement, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said, “The UNC strongly condemns all forms of political violence and stresses that violence is never the answer.”

Abe was the first Japanese prime minister to visit TT. He was here for a Caricom-Japan summit between July 27-28, 2014 when Persad-Bissessar was prime minister.

She expressed her condolences to Abe’s family and country.

Former finance and foreign affairs minister Winston Dookeran remembered meeting Abe in 2014.

“TT was honoured by his visit in 2014, and I remember our meeting. It was a historic visit. He was gracious, astute, and humble.”

Dookeran remembered Abe offering “to set up an antenna for investment with Invest TT in Tokyo, as he commissioned the methanol plant in TT.”

He described Abe’s assassination as a shocking blow to world peace, and a horrible event in one of the world’s most peaceful democracies.

“We were fortunate that he visited TT and cemented a bond between our countries.”

Dookeran recalled Abe was “a clear architect of modern Japan with his economic policies (Abenomics) and active foreign policy.” He said Abe’s death will create a void in Japan.

Former foreign affairs minister Ralph Maraj described Abe’s murder as shocking and tragic.

He said, “Abe made significant steps towards Japan’s economic renewal and also its place in the world.” Maraj observed Abe courageously moved Japan away from is previous pacifist constitution to play a more active role in the Asia-Pacific region.

“He has made an enduring contribution as Japan’s longest serving prime minister.”

Political analyst Dr Shane Mohammed said, Japan has strict laws regarding illegal firearms. It was startling for a peaceful and democratic nation like Japan to experience this kind of tragedy. He said Abe made significant contributions to Japan’s development and the rest of the world.

In a statement, Caricom said Abe’s visit to the region in 2014 took political engagement between Japan and Caricom to a new level.

Abe’s new policy towards Caricom included co-operation towards sustainable development including overcoming vulnerabilities particular to small island states and deepening and expanding bonds founded on exchanges and friendship and co-operation in addressing challenges in the international community.

In expressing its condolences to the Japanese government and people, Caricom praised Abe as a man “who made great efforts to reshape his country and its place in the world.”

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