Japan's election campaigning to resume a day after Abe assassination

Published On: July 9, 2022 07:10 AM NPT By: Reuters

TOKYO, July 9: Campaigning in Japan was due to resume on Saturday in the final day of electioneering before polling for the upper house of parliament, even as the country reeled from the killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by a gunman in an unusual act of political violence.

Abe, Japan's longest serving modern leader, was gunned down while making a campaign speech in the city of Nara on Friday morning by an unemployed 41-year-old man, in an act decried by the political establishment as an attack on democracy itself.
Politicians pledged to continue campaigning ahead of Sunday's poll, which is expected to deliver victory to Japan's ruling coalition, while police scrambled to establish the motive and method of Abe's killer.

"A wave of sympathy votes now could boost the margin of victory," James Brady, vice president at advisory firm Teneo, wrote in a note. The Liberal Democratic Party, where Abe retained considerable influence, was seen gaining seats in polling before the assassination.
Abe's death has raised questions about the security measures for public figures in Japan, where politicians commonly make direct appeals to voters outside train stations and supermarkets during campaigning season.

Many parties will hold back senior figures from making speeches on Saturday - an important stamp of approval for candidates - but campaigning will go ahead to demonstrate a resolution not to bow to violence, NHK reported.

A scion of a political family who became Japan's youngest post-war premier, Abe was rushed to a Nara hospital following the shooting before being pronounced dead in the late afternoon.

A vehicle thought to be carrying the body of the slain politician left the hospital before 6 a.m. (2100 GMT on Friday), NHK reported, and was thought to be heading for his Tokyo residence.




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