About 15,000 people have visited the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) over the past week to pay their respects to former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated during a campaign event in Nara, Japan, on July 8, Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan said late on Sunday.
The association wrote on Facebook that 12,750 people visited its Taipei headquarters from Monday last week to Sunday to mourn the death of Abe, while another 1,693 paid their respects at its Kaohsiung branch from Monday last week to Wednesday.
Memorial venues were set up at both locations for people to pay their respects to Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
The Facebook post included a time-lapse video that recorded the mourners at the venues over the week.
In the post, JTEA Representative Hiroyasu Izumi said he believed that such an outpouring of support could only be seen in Taiwan.
“We have seen parents taking their young children, elderly people in wheelchairs, people traveling from afar and taking a day off work, just to personally visit our offices to pay their respects,” he said.
“I feel deeply gratified to see that Abe’s goodwill toward Taiwan has been well received by many Taiwanese,” he said.
Izumi said Taiwanese have always been ready to offer help to Japan when it is struck by a major misfortune.
He thanked every single mourner, adding that he hopes Japan and Taiwan will continue to take care of each other, which was Abe’s life-long pursuit.
Abe died on July 8 at the age of 67 after he was shot while campaigning for the Japanese House of Councilor elections, held on July 10. Police arrested a 41-year-old suspect who allegedly shot Abe with a homemade shotgun.
Abe was a vocal supporter of Taiwan and helped reinforce Taiwan-Japan relations during his time as prime minister and after leaving the post.
To show Taiwan’s respect for Abe, all government agencies and public schools in Taiwan flew the national flag at half-mast on Monday last week.
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