US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Japan on Monday to offer condolences in person over the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, the State Department said.
Blinken, who was in Bangkok on Sunday, will “offer condolences to the Japanese people” in meetings with senior officials in Tokyo, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot during a campaign stop on Friday in an exceedingly rare gun crime in one of the world’s safest countries.
Abe built tight relations with the United States, especially in defence, as he tried to shed some of his country’s post-war pacifism.
“The alliance between Japan and the United States has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy for decades,” Blinken said Saturday after Group of 20 talks in Bali.
“Prime minister Abe really brought that partnership to new heights. The friendship between the Japanese and American people is likewise unshakable,” he said.
“So we’re standing with the people of Japan, with the prime minister’s family, in the aftermath of a truly, truly appalling act of violence.”
President Joe Biden earlier went in person to the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Washington to sign a condolence book.