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Saying Goodbye to a Friend

One of the most important tenets about foreign policy is that you have to build strong alliances along the way, and then do everything in your power to nurture these relationships. In good times and bad times, allies need to stick together, and when you show up, you are strengthening a relationship exponentially. The U.S. has a chance to grieve with one of its closest allies this week, and it is showing up a half a world away in order to pay its respects.

When former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was killed while making a campaign speech last Friday, it sent shock waves around the world. As Prime Minister and President of the Liberal Democratic Party from 2006-2007 and 2012-2020, he was the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. The U.S. had a swift and heartfelt reaction, as their relationship with Japan constitutes one of their most important alliances around the world.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “The U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and has never been stronger.” In order to highlight that alliance and show respect to the assassinated former Prime Minister, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Japan to offer his condolences and to meet with senior Japanese officials this week. Blinken had been in Thailand and Indonesia last week and was at a Group of 20 nations’ foreign ministers meeting in Bali when the news broke last week of Abe’s death.

Blinken touted the diplomatic vision of Abe as he denounced his death as a tragedy for the world. “Prime Minister Abe was a transformative leader, a statesman, someone of truly global stature,” Blinken told reporters. He also explained that Abe’s death had shaken the G-20 meeting with many of his foreign minister colleagues expressing shock and distress at the news.

After receiving news of Abe’s death, Blinken met with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin to further develop their plan for North Korea. These allies continue to work for peace and diplomacy, especially in the Indo-Pacific. “The friendship between the Japanese and American people is likewise unshakable,” Blinken said. “So we’re standing with the people of Japan, with the prime minister’s family, in the aftermath of a truly, truly appalling act of violence.”

Adnan Zai, Advisor to Berkeley Capital, said, “Japan has been one of the staunchest of allies since WWII and that support has never wavered. Unlike the US, political leaders in Japan have been revered and respected by nearly all its citizens. That comes from a culture steeped in honor and tradition. This trip needs to be all about honoring their culture, respect and offering our deepest condolences.”

Former Prime Minister Abe did so much good in fostering his vision for foreign and domestic policy throughout the Indo-Pacific. He certainly deserves reverence and respect from those allies he worked so tirelessly with. The U. S. will show that respect with Blinken’s visit, and work together with Japan long into the future.

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