The editorial commentary originally scheduled to fill this space was a cri de coeur to the United States, a plea for it to come to its senses and halt the devastating gun violence that has become a fact of daily life in that country. It is with extraordinary sadness and anger that we instead are forced to substitute this comment decrying the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
As we write this, there is little that is known about the shooting. It would be irresponsible and reckless to speculate about the motives and reasoning behind the incident. Nevertheless, we can say two things with absolute certainty. First, we offer our deepest condolences to the former prime minister's family and loved ones. Second, this was an act of terrorism and there is no place for such behavior in Japan. We live in a democracy where disputes and differences are resolved by voting in elections, not with violence.
Abe was attacked Friday morning in Nara on the first stop in a three-prefecture swing to campaign for Liberal Democratic Party candidates in Sunday’s Upper House election. He was shot twice in the chest from behind allegedly by a Nara resident who was seized at the scene and taken into custody. Abe reportedly went into cardiac arrest while being airlifted to a local hospital, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries. We stand with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida who called the shooting “a heinous act ... barbaric, malicious, and it cannot be tolerated.”