Flowerbed Built Near Shooting Site of Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors on Friday look at a flowerbed created near the site in Nara City where former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead last year.

NARA — A flowerbed was completed Friday close to the site where former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead in Nara City last year that, although part of a previously planned project, will now serve as a de facto memorial to the late politician.

The Nara city government had been redeveloping the area around the north side of Kintetsu Railway Co.’s Yamato-Saidaiji Station prior to the shooting, and placing flowerbeds on sidewalks along the road were part of the project.

The actual site of the shooting has become a road as planned and was opened for traffic from Saturday.

Abe was shot on July 8 last year while delivering a campaign speech in support of a Liberal Democratic Party candidate for the House of Councilors on a section in the middle of the street surrounded by guardrails.

Later, the guardrails were removed and the site was repaved as a road. The flowerbed was built on the sidewalk adjacent to the shooting site.

Immediately after the incident, the city government considered erecting a monument or some other marker, but abandoned the idea after hearing comments against it from many residents, such as, “I don’t want to be reminded of the shooting.”

For now, the flowerbed will seemingly serve that purpose.

“I used to feel sad every time I passed by here,” said a company employee, 65, who was walking by the site on Friday. “But with the flowerbed, it lightens the atmosphere. Although [the site] looks different now, I hope this becomes a place where the story of the incident can be passed down to future generations.”