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“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the assassination of Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan,” writes Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the aftermath of the politician’s assassination on July 8, 2022. The man who led the Japanese government from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020 was assassinated in Nara while delivering a speech during an election campaign.
The Pope offers his sincere condolences to the family of Shinzo Abe, his friends and the Japanese people, in a statement addressed to the apostolic nuncio in Tokyo. “In the wake of this senseless act, he prays that Japanese society will be strengthened in its historic commitment to peace and non-violence,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote.
Pope Francis met with the former Japanese Prime Minister during his trip to the Japanese archipelago in 2019. The politician had also been received in audience at the Vatican by Pope Francis in 2014.
Hours after the assassination of the former prime minister, Archbishop Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, expressed his “deep sadness” in an interview with the Italian news channel TG1. The head of Vatican diplomacy praised his “great influence beyond the borders of Japan.” Archbishop Gallagher added that Shinzo Abe was a “very controversial person” but at the same time a “man of principles […] with a great sense of the common good of his people.”