The tragic death of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is devastating news. On behalf of the Australian Government and people, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Mrs Abe and to Mr Abe’s family and friends, and to the people of Japan.
Mr Abe was one of Australia’s closest friends on the world stage. It was his vision that helped elevate our bilateral relationship to a Special Strategic Partnership in 2014. Under his leadership Japan emerged as one of Australia’s most like-minded partners in Asia – a legacy that endures today.
Mr Abe was a leader in the Indo-Pacific, championing a vision of a free and open region. The Quad and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership are in many ways the results of his diplomatic leadership.
Mr Abe was also a giant on the world stage – a leader in the G7, the G20 and the United Nations. His legacy was one of global impact, and a profound and positive one for Australia.
Just a few days after being sworn in as Prime Minister, I had the privilege of travelling to Japan for the Quad meeting. In many ways, this grouping is a legacy of Mr Abe’s diplomatic activism.
Mr Abe was the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japanese history. He will be greatly missed.