ORLANDO, Fla. – After Japan’s longest serving prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated during a speech Friday, a UCF expert in the field of global perspectives explained why the aftershock of the fatal shooting was felt around the world.
David Dumke, executive director of the University of Central Florida’s Office of Global Perspectives and International Initiatives, said world leaders and experts were particularly shocked because the shooting was such a departure from the Japanese culture, which is known for stringent gun laws and very little political violence.
“Japan has very strict gun laws. They also, unsurprisingly connected to it, they have very few gun fatalities every year. I think about a dozen a year perhaps,” he said.
Dumke added that Japan’s gun laws make owning a gun very difficult.
For someone to be able to buy a gun in Japan, they must:
- Attend an all-day class
- Pass both a written test and a gun range test
- Go through mental health and drug evaluations
- Complete an extensive background check
Dumke said the loss of Abe, who despite stepping down from his role as prime minister two years prior due to health reasons was still politically active, will be felt across Japan, the United States and the world.
“Shinzo Abe was such a well-known figure having served for so long,” Dumke said.
Abe was a polarizing politician, popular among conservatives and reviled by many liberals, known for pushing to revitalize the country’s military, for adopting a revisionist view of Japan’s history and for leading efforts to strengthen the nation’s economy.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that flags will be flown at half-staff in honor of Abe. The announcement follows the proclamation by President Biden, who ordered flags be flown at half-staff at the White House, all public buildings and grounds, all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels until sunset on Sunday, July 10.
“He was a strong and faithful ally to our nation,” the governor’s office stated. “Abe was a great man who truly understood freedom and democracy. He will be remembered for his remarkable service and commitment to the people of Japan.”
Biden also shared his condolences, saying he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news.”
I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed. He was a champion of the friendship between our people.— President Biden (@POTUS) July 8, 2022
The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.