President Biden, in a call with Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday, expressed “outrage, sadness and deep condolences” over the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Mr. Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to “stand with the Prime Minister and the people of Japan in their time of mourning,” according to a White House readout of the call.
Mr. Abe, 67, was fatally shot from behind by a lone gunman as the former prime minister campaigned for his party’s candidates ahead of a parliamentary election. He was the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history, serving from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020. Notably, he helped forge an Indo-Pacific alliance to deter China.
In the call, Mr. Biden also praised Mr. Abe’s “enduring legacy with his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and the establishment of the QUAD meetings of Japan, the United States, Australia and India.”
“The President noted our unwavering confidence in the strength of Japan’s democracy and the two leaders discussed how Abe Shinzo’s legacy will live on as we continue the important task of defending peace and democracy,” according to the White House.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Biden condemned the assassination, calling it a “tragedy” for Japan, a strong ally of the U.S.
Mr. Biden has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until July 10 following to honor Mr. Abe.