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Japan and its longtime friends have looked at the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo with shock and concern for its future. Japan’s adversaries view it with opportunism.

The fact that a lone gunman used a handmade gun to kill Abe at a political rally in the city of Nara is the kind of political violence that we have not seen in Japan since the early 1960s. The assassination raises questions about the killer’s motivations, the safety of Japanese society and, for some, the state of democracy in one of the most affluent and stable countries in the world.

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