In response to the tragic shooting and death of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan on July 8, Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) stated that the former prime minister was an important world leader and a staunch friend to Taiwan. The spokesperson said that upon learning of former Prime Minister Abe's passing, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed with great sadness and regret her deepest sympathy on behalf of the people and government of Taiwan. The president also expressed that not only has the world lost a true leader, Taiwan has also lost a true friend, and that as Taiwan and Japan are both democratic nations that respect the rule of law, our government strongly condemns this illegal act of violence.
Noting that former Prime Minister Abe had over many years spared no effort in promoting Taiwan-Japan ties, Spokesperson Chang said that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the former prime minister had worked tirelessly to help facilitate Japan's donations of vaccines to Taiwan that exemplified our bilateral friendship. The spokesperson stated that in the face of a changing global and regional political and economic landscape, over the past few years former Prime Minister Abe had worked resolutely to advance the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region and sent a strong message to the international community, saying that "if Taiwan has a problem, then Japan has a problem, and the Japan-US alliance also has a problem." Spokesperson Chang also said that not only was the former prime minister concerned for the security of Taiwan, he also stood firmly with Taiwan in our efforts to jointly maintain peace and stability in both the Taiwan Strait and the region at large, while developing new strategic frameworks for and giving hope to an Indo-Pacific region facing many strategic challenges.
Spokesperson Chang stated that President Tsai has directed Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to convey sincere condolences to former Prime Minister Abe's family and the government of Japan. President Tsai also expressed that although former Prime Minister Abe has passed away, the Taiwanese people will never forget his love for Taiwan and all the contributions he made to the Taiwan-Japan relationship throughout his life. Spokesperson Chang added that Taiwan and Japan will continue to help each other, showing the world that the virtuous cycle of support between our countries will not be diminished by acts of violence, but will only continue to grow stronger.