On behalf of all U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, I want to express our deepest condolences and sorrow to the people of Japan in the wake of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s tragic death. His life and service inspired the world to dream of a secure, more prosperous future. The Prime Minister’s courageous leadership and extraordinary vision revitalized Japan’s economy, brought together like-minded nations, and made the world a safer place.
Prime Minister Abe will be remembered for his principled leadership, which did not shift with the winds of public opinion, nor buckle under the pressure of political correctness. His keen intellect allowed him to see the future with clarity, frequently before many others. The Prime Minister was a leader of action and consequence who led Japan to greater prosperity and prominence on the world stage.
The U.S. – Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and Prime Minister Abe’s reference to it as an alliance of hope captures his character and outlook on world affairs. He consistently worked to strengthen the alliance by cultivating the friendship between our two countries and deepening relationships with other nations who share our common values. Many of the advancements we see with other countries in the region today, such as the Quad, are due to the Prime Minister’s efforts.
Prime Minister Abe believed in the greatness of the Japanese people and he offered Japan a compelling vision of what that future could be. The strength of his vision was on full display when he visited Pearl Harbor in 2016 and offered sincere and everlasting condolences to the victims of the attack in 1941. He highlighted American efforts to rebuild Japan after the war and described how the power of reconciliation converted two enemies into friends. In this instance, as well as many others, Prime Minister Abe inspired us to consider how we can further advance the cause of peace.
The best way to honor Prime Minister Abe’s untimely passing and preserve his legacy is for all of us to heed his words to “look to the future, rather than worry about the present” and work together to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.
ADM John C. Aquilino, USN