Violent suppression of expression will not be tolerated

Using violence to suppress expression is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances.

What grudge did the suspect hold against former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? What were his criticisms of Japanese politics? Regardless of the suspect’s motives, acts of terrorism must not be tolerated.

This was an act aimed at the total destruction of parliamentary democracy. Opinions may differ, of course. Although the motives of such people may be unknown, the world is facing a variety of challenges, including divisions in society due to the advancement of globalism, the disparity between rich and poor, high prices, and the energy and food crises. In the French National Assembly’s most recent election, the ruling parties failed to secure a majority due to dissatisfaction among low- and middle-income earners in rural areas. People hold a wide range of differences in ideology, beliefs, and religious attitudes.

Societal division, which engenders various anxieties and dissatisfactions, is a serious issue in Japan, too, and politics must play a major role in finding solutions. Is this not the very reason that the House of Councillors elections are held? Differences in thought should be contested through discussion.

And what of the security situation at the scene? Japan is said to be the safest country in the world, but a person who twice served as the nation’s prime minister was shot in broad daylight in the middle of an upper house election campaign. The news was met with astonishment throughout the world. This was a national blunder that shakes Japan’s “safety myth.” There may have been an element of laxity on the part of the police and others. The system must be promptly examined and deeply reflected upon to ensure that such an incident can never happen again.

During this upper house election campaign period, street speeches are being held at various train stations and public squares across the country. Japan had felt a sense of global pride that its environment allowed people to listen to speeches freely and safely at any time. I do not want to imagine a society in which people feel compelled to prepare for potential danger when listening to campaign speeches.

Former Prime Minister Abe was a kind-hearted and principled politician who was willing to debate with people regardless of their thinking and ideas. I sincerely condemn this despicable act of barbarism. It is unforgivable.