The Assassination of Shinzo Abe Rattles Japan

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-07-08 11:48:01 : Hikari Hida and Hisako Ueno

The stunning assassination of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rattled Japan and its sense of identity as a peaceful country where violent crime is rare.

The graphic videos and photographs of Mr. Abe being gunned down during a lunchtime campaign rally in western Japan had stunned the nation on Friday. Shock turned to grief when the former prime minister was declared dead in the early evening.

“You never hear about gun violence here. On TV, you hear about it all the time in the U.S. but not here,” said Ayane Kubota, 37, who was heading home from work and looking at the news of Mr. Abe’s death on her phone. “This is so not Japanese.”

Erika Inoue, a 25-year-old designer, said the events of the day felt more like a Hollywood script than real life in Japan, where there was one death in 2021 from a gun-related incident.

“I’m shocked by this,” she said. “The shooting part is confusing. There are guns? In Japan?”

Near the train station crossing where Mr. Abe was shot, a makeshift memorial started to appear after the news of his death. People dropped off flowers, slices of watermelon, candy and bottles of juice as crowds gathered to take photos and stop for a moment.

When news of Mr. Abe’s death was announced before Friday’s game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, there were screams and surprised voices from the stands. Then, the crowd fell quiet and a 30-second moment of silence was observed.

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