TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday (July 11) attended a memorial service held at Japan's de-facto embassy in Taipei to express grief over the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.
The Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA), Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan, is hosting a memorial service for the Taiwan-friendly Japanese politician, who died on Friday (July 8) after being shot when giving a campaign speech on a street in Nara, Japan. The week-long service began on Monday afternoon and is open to the public all day from Tuesday to Sunday (July 12-17).
Abe was described as a "good old friend" of hers and of the country, Tsai said in a speech after the service. She was accompanied by David Lee (李大維), the Secretary-General to the President, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) during Monday's visit.
"I knew Abe for over a decade and we had a video call in March to exchange heartfelt greetings, in which I expressed hope to see him in Taiwan very soon."
Tsai condemned the violence and thanked the outstanding contributions Abe made to the bilateral relationship, from speaking up for Taiwan on several international occasions, promoting cultural exchanges between the two countries, to advocating a stronger partnership with Taiwan in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategy.
The president recalled Abe's heart-warming gestures and support for Taiwan in the past: "Abe is a good friend of Taiwan forever, and this great leader will be remembered for his dedication to world democracy, freedom, human rights, and peace."
She also shared the news after the service that not long ago Abe promised Taiwan's envoy to Japan, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), he would visit Taiwan. "We are feeling sad and sorrowful upon hearing his passing," she said.
Taiwan's Presidential Office, government agencies, and public schools across the country flew their flags at half-staff to "commemorate the outstanding contributions Abe made to Taiwan during his life," the office's press release read.