WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), an immigrant born in Japan who was the first Asian and Japanese American woman to serve in the United States Senate, released the following statement on the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Abe was a transformational figure in Japan who dedicated his life in service of his country. A friend to the United States, Prime Minister Abe fought for the Japanese people and strengthened the relationship between our two countries.
“I’ve had the privilege of meeting Prime Minister Abe a number of times, including during a State dinner at the White House in 2015, as well as during official trips to Japan in 2013 and 2017. During our most recent meeting, we discussed a number of topics, including the importance of the trilateral alliance of the United States, Japan and South Korea.
“This senseless murder was a barbaric act—and one that I condemn in the strongest terms possible.
“I spoke with Ambassador Tomita this morning to express my deepest condolences to Prime Minister Abe’s family and to the people of Japan. As an immigrant born in Japan, I join President Biden and stand with the Japanese people during this time. We will honor Prime Minister Abe’s legacy by continuing to work to strengthen our relationship with Japan, which is a critical ally in protecting the security of the Indo-Pacific region and plays a vital role in Hawaii’s economy and culture.”
As a leading champion of U.S.-Japan relations in Congress, Senator Hirono met with Prime Minister Abe several times, most recently on a Congressional Delegation trip to Japan in 2017. In 2016, she joined Prime Minister Abe and President Barack Obama for a wreath laying at Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 2015, Senator Hirono served on the Escort Committee for Prime Minister Abe’s address to a joint session of Congress. In 2013, she met with Prime Minister Abe during a Congressional Delegation to Japan and several other Asia-Pacific nations.
In November 2021, Senator Hirono was honored by the Japanese government with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in recognition of her work to strengthen bilateral relations and promoting legislative exchanges between Japan and the United States.