'A good friend of S'pore': PM Lee Hsien Loong sends condolences to Japan leader Kishida over Shinzo Abe's death

"Mr Abe's passing will be felt deeply in Japan, Singapore and around the world," PM Lee Hsien Loong said. PHOTO: LEE HSIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (July 9) conveyed his condolences to his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida over the death of former leader Shinzo Abe.

In a lengthy letter, PM Lee expressed his "deepest condolences on the shocking and tragic passing" of Mr Abe, who was assassinated by a lone gunman during a campaign rally in Japan's Nara prefecture on Friday.

Singapore strongly condemns the senseless act of violence, PM Lee told Mr Kishida.

"As Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Mr Abe had made significant contributions to Japan through his signature reforms, such as Abenomics, which developed Japan's economy and society, and improved the lives of the ordinary Japanese people," PM Lee wrote.

"I had the privilege of working with Mr Abe for almost a decade. With his support, Singapore-Japan relations grew from strength to strength, with cooperation expanding in many areas such as trade and investments, innovation, infrastructure development, smart cities, and cultural exchanges."

PM Lee referred to the late politician as "an active international statesman who deepened Japan's engagement with regional groupings" such as Asean and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

During Mr Abe's term in office, Singapore and Japan worked closely together to promote a free, open and inclusive regional architecture, as well as multilateralism and trade liberalisation, the Prime Minister said.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership would not have been successfully concluded without Mr Abe and Japan's vision and leadership, he added.

PM Lee also said Mr Abe's close ties to Singapore were evident in the special efforts that the late leader took to attend the state funeral of the country's founding father Lee Kuan Yew in 2015 and the lying in state of former president S R Nathan in 2016.

"Mr Abe will always be remembered as a good friend of Singapore," PM Lee said.

"Mr Abe's passing will be felt deeply in Japan, Singapore and around the world."

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