World Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes unscheduled trip to...

Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes unscheduled trip to Japan to honor slain former PM Shinzo Abe

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in an unscheduled visit in Tokyo on Monday. The visit was prompted by the shocking assassination last week of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo courtesy U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken/Twitter

July 11 (BP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered condolences to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Monday over the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Blinken made the stopover in Tokyo at the end of his trip to Asia for the G20 Foreign Minister’s Meeting to offer condolences on behalf of the American people. Abe was shot dead Friday in western Japan while giving a campaign speech for a Liberal Democratic Party candidate ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

The United States’ top diplomat told reporters at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo that he was asked by U.S. President Joe Biden to personally visit Japan. He also shared with Kishida a letter Biden had written for the Abe family.

“I shared with our Japanese colleagues the sense of loss, the sense of shock that we all feel, the American people feel, at this horrific tragedy and killing,” Blinken said. “It’s such a loss, too, because during his time in office, Prime Minister Abe really took the relationship between our countries to new heights.”

Blinken called Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, a friend and a “man of vision who had the ability to realize that vision.”

“And when a friend is hurting, other friends show up,” he said. “We try to help ease the burden, share the sense of loss and give a shoulder, and that’s what we’re trying to do today.”

During the meeting, Kishida expressed his gratitude for Blinken’s visit and for Biden’s sympathy, according to a readout of the discussion from Japan’s foreign affairs ministry.

Kishida also reiterated a desire to continue Abe’s work in strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Abe died on Friday hours after he was shot at the Kintetsu Railway station in Nara, which is located about 235 miles southwest of Tokyo.

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