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Shocked world leaders react to Shinzo Abe's news

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New Delhi, July 08: World leaders expressed shock and anguish over Friday's shooting of Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign speech and prayed for his quick recovery. Abe was shot in western Japan and airlifted to a hospital. Officials said he was not breathing and his heart had stopped. Police have arrested a suspected gunman at the scene. The attack was a shock in one of the world's safest countries with some of the strictest gun control laws.

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    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep distress at the attack on Shinzo Abe, who is in a critical condition after being shot during a campaign speech on Friday in western Japan. "Deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend Abe Shinzo. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan," Prime Minister tweeted.

    Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said they were shocked by the attack on ex-Japan PM Shinzo Abe during a campaign speech.

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    In a message, Singh said, "Deeply shocked by the tragic attack on my friend former Prime Minister Abe. My prayers are with him and family".

    Gandhi said, "Shocked to hear the news of the attack on former PM of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who has been instrumental in deepening Indo-Japanese ties." "Prayers for his recovery. My thoughts are with his family," he also said.

    US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the U.S. was "deeply saddened and deeply concerned" over the attempted killing of Abe. "We don't know his condition. We do know that apparently he's been shot. Our thoughts, our prayers are with him, with his family, with the people of Japan. This is a very, very sad moment," he said on the sidelines of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations meeting on Indonesia's Bali island.

    Former U.S. President Donald Trump said the attack on Abe was devastating. He described Abe as a "truly great man and leader" and said Abe "was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America." "This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!" Trump said on his social media app.

    Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese echoed the sentiments. "Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot. Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time," Albanese tweeted

    U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel expressed sadness and shock at the shooting. "Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the U.S. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, & people of Japan," he said on Twitter.

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    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was in Sydney meeting with Albanese on Friday, said she was "deeply shocked." "He was one of the first leaders I formally met when I became Prime Minister. He was deeply committed to his role, and also generous and kind. I recall him asking after the recent loss of our pet when I met him, a small gesture but one that speaks to the kind of person he is," Ardern said.

    Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said he learned the news with great shock and dismay. "I extend my deep sympathy and pray for his early recovery," he said.

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who is in Bali as president of the G-20, conveyed the G-20 foreign ministers' "deepest sympathies and our prayers for the speedy recovery" of Abe.

    Other former world leaders condemned the appalling attack on Abe, who was the longest serving prime minister in Japan. He led Japan from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 before stepping down in 2020 due to poor health.

    Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said "an attack on any democratically elected political leader in the world is an attack on supporters of democracy everywhere." "Shinzo Abe has been a dynamic political leader of Japan over many years, and we all hope that he will recover and resume his important responsibilities in the Diet," Rudd said on Facebook.

    Two other former Australian Prime Ministers, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, reacted in disbelief. Abott called it a "shocking act of violence" and Turnbull said he was horrified. They both expressed hope and prayers that Abe will pull through.

    Prayers with him…: PM Modi 'distressed' by attack on 'Dear Friend' Shinzo AbePrayers with him…: PM Modi 'distressed' by attack on 'Dear Friend' Shinzo Abe

    The 67-year-old Abe was shot at while giving a campaign speech in western Japan. He was not breathing and his heart stopped while being airlifted to a hospital.

    Born on 21 September 1954, Abe is the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. He became Japan's youngest prime minister in 2006, at age 52, but his overly nationalistic first stint abruptly ended a year later, also because of his health. The end of Abe's scandal-laden first stint as prime minister was the beginning of six years of annual leadership change, remembered as an era of "revolving door" politics that lacked stability and long-term policies.

    When he returned to office in 2012, Abe vowed to revitalise the nation and get its economy out of its deflationary doldrums with his "Abenomics" formula, which combines fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms. He won six national elections and built a rock-solid grip on power, bolstering Japan's defense role and capability and its security alliance with the U.S. He also stepped up patriotic education at schools and raised Japan's international profile.

    Abe stepped down as prime minister in 2020 because he said a chronic health problem has resurfaced. Abe has had ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager and has said the condition was controlled with treatment. He told reporters at the time that it was "gut wrenching" to leave many of his goals unfinished.

    Abe is a political blue blood who was groomed to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. His political rhetoric often focused on making Japan a "normal" and "beautiful" nation with a stronger military and bigger role in international affairs.

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