HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige is ordering the United States flag and the Hawaii state flag to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Sunday, July 10, to honor the memory of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated during a campaign speech on Friday.

Flags in Hawaii are currently at half-staff to honor victims of the Highland Park shooting until sunset on Saturday, July 9.

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Ige released a statement that said he was devastated by the news of Abe’s assassination, calling the former Prime Minister a true friend of Hawaii.

“In our multiple meetings, we shared stories of our past, embraced our common culture, and continued the quest for reconciliation and partnership that has developed between the United States and Japan. Dawn and I extend our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, Prime Minster Abe’s wife, Akie and the family members and friends of this world leader who exemplified the aloha spirit and lived his life seeking peace in the world.”

Gov. David Ige
Gov. David Ige with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016. (Courtesy: Office of Gov. David Ige)

Other Hawaii officials also released statements expressing their condolences. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi called Abe’s death a devastating blow to those around the world who admired his principles when it came to leadership and democracy.

“He was a towering international figure and a champion for peace not only in the Indo-Pacific region, but in countries across the globe. Mr. Abe worked tirelessly to strengthen the bond between Japan and the state of Hawai’i and prioritized the continued pursuit of reconciliation between our two nations.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Abe will be remembered not only as Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, but also for his work in seeking world peace and strengthening relationships throughout the Pacific.

“Maui County’s residents share deep cultural ties with Japan, and our bonds of friendship remain strong with our Sister Cities: Hachijo Island, Tokyo; Hirara City, Miyako Island, Okinawa; and Fukuyama City.”

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino

Kauai County Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami said Abe’s kindness and leadership have touched everyone, especially on Kauai where their ties with Japan are tightly knit.

“While I did not have the opportunity to meet him in person, I was fortunate to travel to Japan in 2019, where we met members of his delegation and was treated with the utmost respect and aloha. On behalf of the Kaua‘i community, we express our sincere condolences to Prime Minister Abe’s wife Akie, his family and loved ones, and the people of Japan, along with our four sister cities of Suo Oshima, Ishigaki, Moriyama, and Iwaki, as we mourn together this incredible loss.”

Kauai County Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami

County of Hawaii Mayor Mitch Roth said he considers Abe to be the most transformational politician in Japan’s post-World War II history.

“No matter our views toward our elected officials, violence should never be the answer. Today, we join Japan in mourning their longest-serving Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, whose legacy will continue to carry on far beyond his last breaths.”

County of Hawaii Mayor Mitch Roth

Abe’s assassination has shocked the world, with Japan having some of the strictest gun control laws. According to officials, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami allegedly built his own weapon to circumvent the nation’s tight gun regulations. Police confiscated similar homemade weapons when they raided his apartment. Yamagami, a former member of Japan’s navy, has been arrested.

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Abe was shot in the back while campaigning in the city of Nara for candidates for his governing party. He died at the age of 67, two days ahead of parliamentary elections.