Members of Ghana’s Parliament (MPs) on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, expressed shocked and sadness about the assassination of the Japanese former Prime Minister, His Excellency Shinzo Abe.

Prime Minister Abe was assassinated in Nara, east of Osaka, at the age 67, during an election campaign speech.

He was shot by a 41-year-old suspect name Tetsuya Yamagami who used a homemade gun, but Medical Doctors at the Nara Medical University pronounced Abe dead later.

The assassination of the former Prime Minister was condemned widely by the international community.

The motive for the assassination is not yet clear as the former PM was at a political rally.

In a statement on the floor of Ghana’s parliament, the Ranking of Foreign Affairs Committee, Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa eulogised the former Prime Minister, describing him as “one of the most influential world leaders of his generation.”

According to him, the slained Abe was one of the outstanding longest-serving Japanese Prime Ministers, His Excellency Shinzo and was a leader with vision and compassion for development beyond his home nation.

“Mr Speaker, this tragedy of monumental proportions has reverberated across the entire international community – indeed, it is not only a Japanese loss but a great loss to the world, our common humanity, and particularly to Ghana, which has shared very deep and broad ancestral ties with a friendly nation, Japan.

The former Japanese Prime Minister Abe was a member of a prominent political family. His grandfather Kishi Nobusuke served as Japan’s Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960, and his great-uncle Sato Eisaku held the same post from 1964 to 1972.

The North Tongu MP added that Prime Minister Abe killing is a tragedy of monumental proportions that has reverberated across the entire international community – indeed, it is not only a Japanese loss but a great loss to the world, our common humanity, and particularly to Ghana, which has shared very deep and broad ancestral ties with a friendly nation, Japan.

Other MPs in their respective contributions called on security detectives to leave no stone unturned in their search for the assassins to face faled father of two’s killers. Right Honourable Speaker, I am thankful to you for this opportunity to render a befitting tribute and pay well-deserved respects in honour of the memory

Below is the Full Statement

EULOGY BY SAMUEL OKUDZETO ABLAKWA, MP FOR NORTH TONGU AND RANKING MEMBER ON THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE IN HONOUR OF THE MEMORY OF HIS EXCELLENCY SHINZO ABE, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN WHO WAS ASSASINATED DURING A CAMPAIGN SPEECH IN NARA, JAPAN ON JULY 8, 2022.

Right Honourable Speaker, I am thankful to you for this opportunity to render a befitting tribute and pay well-deserved respects in honour of the memory of one of the most influential world leaders of his generation.  I speak of that outstanding longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister, His Excellency Shinzo Abe who was assassinated in Nara, east of Osaka, at the age of 67, during an election campaign speech.

Shinzo Abe was shot by a 41-year-old suspect by name Tetsuya Yamagami who used a homemade gun.  Doctors at the Nara Medical University pronounced Abe dead at 5:03 pm.

Mr. Speaker, this tragedy of monumental proportions has reverberated across the entire international community – indeed, it is not only a Japanese loss but a great loss to the world, our common humanity, and particularly to Ghana, which has shared very deep and broad ancestral ties with a friendly nation, Japan.

Mr. Speaker, Former Prime Minister Abe was a member of a prominent political family. His grandfather Kishi Nobusuke served as Japan’s Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960, and his great-uncle Sato Eisaku held the same post from 1964 to 1972.

He graduated from Seikei University in Tokyo in 1977 and proceeded to the United States, where he studied Political Science at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. In 1979 he returned to Japan and worked for Kōbe Steel, Ltd.

LATE JAPANESE FORMER PRIME MINISTER

He launched his political career as an active member of the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), and in 1982 he began working as secretary to his father, Abe Shintaro, who was Japan’s Foreign Minister at the time.

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 Abe won a seat in the lower house of the Diet (parliament) and later held a series of government positions. He garnered much support for his tough stance toward North Korea, following the 2002 kidnap of 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and ’80s. Abe, who was then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, oversaw the subsequent negotiations. In 2003 he was named Secretary General of the LDP.

Mr. Abe succeeded Prime Minister and LDP leader Koizumi Junichiro who left both offices in 2006.

Mr. Speaker, at age 52, Shinzo Abe became the youngest person to hold the office of Prime Minister since World War II. He is credited with reviving the LDP after an electoral defeat in 2009, rebranding and revitalizing the LDP with his unique brand of conservatism.

Prime Minister Abe pursued a more visible, charming and assertive foreign policy. He championed positive multilateralism and supported United Nations sanctions against North Korea after that country’s nuclear test. He subsequently imposed a set of unilateral sanctions on North Korea that included a ban on all visits to Japanese ports by North Korean vessels. He also pledged to revise the country’s post-war constitution, which placed severe restrictions on its military.

Domestically, Abe shored up the country’s pension and health-insurance systems and is credited for leading an economic transformation of Japan. 

However, his government went through a rough patch; in July 2007 the LDP lost its majority in the upper house to a coalition led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and in September Abe announced that he was resigning. He was succeeded by Fukuda Yasuo.

Mr. Speaker, Abe retained his seat in the lower house of the Diet but for several years kept a low profile politically, especially after a DPJ-headed coalition took control of the government in 2009.

That changed, however, when he was again elected leader of the LDP in September 2012.

One of his first acts was to pay a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a memorial to Japan’s military dead that includes individuals convicted of war crimes during World War II. That action precipitated loud protests from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and he provoked further controversy over his views on the sovereignty of islands in the Pacific that were disputed between China and Japan, as well as for his stance favouring revision of the pacifism clause in the Japanese constitution. Nonetheless, the LDP won a landslide victory in lower-house elections on December 16, 2012. On December 26 the new LDP majority in the chamber—bolstered by the members of the party’s coalition partner, New Kōmeitō—overwhelmingly approved Abe as Prime Minister. He replaced the DPJ’s Noda Yoshihiko, who resigned from office that day.

Abe fought to revive Japan, which had suffered stagnation since the crash of 1991. His time at the helm of the world’s third-largest economy was characterized by his “Abenomics” cocktail of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms. This was an ambitious economic programme intended to stimulate the long-moribund Japanese economy and help speed the recovery of the northeastern Honshu (Tōhoku) region devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“Abenomics,” included measures such as raising the inflation rate, allowing the value of the yen to fall against the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies, and increasing the money supply and government spending on major public-works projects. The Abe government received a big political boost in the July 2013 elections to the upper house of the Diet, when candidates from the LDP and its New Kōmeitō allies won enough seats to guarantee them a majority in that chamber.

He led a successful bid for the Tokyo Olympics even though COVID-19 put a dampener on original projections and forced the country into economic recession.

Mr. Speaker, In August 2020, Prime Minister Abe announced that he would resign as Prime Minister on health grounds, although he remained in office in a caretaker capacity pending the selection of a successor. On September 14, 2020, Suga Yoshihide, Abe’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, was chosen as the new leader of the LDP, and he became Prime Minister two days later after Abe broke the record of Prime Minister Kōshaku Katsura Tarō, who had served three nonconsecutive terms in the early 20th century.

Right Honourable Speaker, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a great friend of Africa. 

At the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) held in Yokohama in 2013, the Japanese Government outlined its policy of strengthening support for the ongoing dynamic growth of Africa with stronger public-private partnerships.

Prime Minister Abe also announced the Business Education Initiative for the African Youth – a strategic five-year plan providing 1,000 young Africans with opportunities to study at Japanese universities as well as carry out internships at Japanese enterprises to foster sustainable and sound industrial development.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the African Development Bank was given prominence in the foreign policy of Japan. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank signed a $3 billion Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA-3) and $3.5 billion EPSA-4 agreements for co-financing in Africa, further boosting investments in Africa’s infrastructure and private sector.

It is to Shinzo Abe’s credit that the term “quality infrastructure” was coined and mainstreamed into global financing of infrastructure by the G20. Under Shinzo Abe’s exemplary leadership, ties between Africa and Japan became stronger than ever.

HON ABLAKWA

Right Honourable Speaker, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, bilateral relations between our two countries grew in leaps and bounds.  He deepened our cherished historical relations since the 1920s when Dr. Hideyo Noguchi visited Ghana to conduct research into yellow fever. As a testimony of our profound solidarity, Ghana has also on a good number of occasions sent in support since the days of former President Jerry John Rawlings when Japan has suffered devastating earth quakes.

The government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided support for Ghana in most sectors of the economy including education, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and tourism over the last 50 years of formal diplomatic relations. With projects across the country, JICA is strengthening its partnership with Ghana.

The 2nd phase of construction of school buildings costing 605 million Japanese Yen grant  (approx. US$6million) for Primary and Junior High Schools, teachers’ accommodation, sanitary facilities, and furniture in 33 schools. This is made up of 16 schools in the Central Region and 17 schools in the Northern Region.

Under health delivery, we cannot thank the Japanese enough for the towering and pioneering role of the Noguchi Memorial Institute in assisting Ghana contain the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is also worthy of note that JICA was instrumental in Ghana’s eradication of Guinea worm. JICA is currently scaling up CHPS implementation in Mr. Speaker’s Upper West Region and aims to eliminate disparities in access to health services, especially in the Upper West Region where the health index is low. With an estimated cost of about 450 million yen, resident health care providers are expanding community-based health planning and services (CHPS) to facilitate access to basic medical services in that beautiful region of my dear in-laws.

Ongoing strategic partnerships in agriculture include a project to support small-scale local farmers by raising their income and reducing poverty through investigating prevailing climate conditions and proffering scientific solutions to increase yields.

In the energy sector, JICA is undertaking a project to improve the power distribution system by constructing two primary substations (transformers (34.5/11.5kV), sub-transmission lines (34.5kV), and distribution lines (11.5kV) to provide reliable and stable electricity at a cost-effective price to the people of Ghana and to renew, reinforce and extend the existing power distribution systems in Tamale and Sunyani.

Mr. Speaker, under its governance assistance programmes, many public servants including staff of parliament, MPs and Ministers of State have benefited from numerous capacity enhancing and knowledge exchange initiatives.

Right Honourable Speaker, in my own beloved North Tongu constituency, the Ghana-Japanese story of amazing collaboration is unmistakable – during Prime Minister Abe’s tenure, JICA constructed a 6-unit basic school and staff office complex with furniture and sanitary facilities in Agbetikpo, near Aveyime; constructed a modern science laboratory at the Mepe St.Kizito SHS; provided numerous scholarships for many constituents of mine including the famous Professor Akaho; additionally, in 2016, President John Mahama secured full funding from the Japanese government during a state visit hosted by Prime Minister Abe to construct a bridge connecting Volivo to Dorfor-Adidome. The project which is yet to commence will cost some USD 107 million which has already been approved by this august House since November 2016.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was a particularly sad day for not only the good people of Japan but the entire international community as we solemnly observed the final funeral rites of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe through media broadcasts and before his private cremation at Tokyo’s Kirigaya Funeral Hall.

Another cruel reminder of the dangers politicians face all over the world from US President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865; US President J.F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963; India’s Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination of January 30, 1948; DR Congo’s Patrice Lumumba’s assassination of January 17, 1961; Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara’s assassination of October 15, 1987 just to mention a few.

Mr. Speaker, kindly permit me to extend the deepest commiserations and heartfelt sympathies of this august House to the government and good people of Japan, Prime Minister Abe’s immediate family, especially his widow Akie Abe and our great friend, the dynamic Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Mochizuki Hisanobu.

May the callous perpetrator be brought to justice and may this catastrophe never again befall our two nations.

Right Honourable Speaker, the iconic impact and enduring global legacy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cannot be assassinated.

I am eternally grateful to you, Mr. Speaker.

Source: expressnewsghana.com

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