Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated at a rally on Friday, sending shockwaves through Japan and around the globe.
Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister when he resigned in 2020, was shot by a lone gunman and died hours later. The alleged shooter used a homemade firearm, and was tackled and arrested, NPR reports.
“It’s shocking, and it’s tragic, and it’s complicated,” says Daniel Aldrich, professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern.
In the wake of Abe’s violent death, two Northeastern professors reflect on how an assassination could happen in a largely gun-free nation, and on Abe’s complicated legacy.
“It’s shocking because it’s just so unlikely,” Aldrich says.
Gun violence is rare in Japan, he says, as is gun ownership, making an assassination by shooting in Japan almost unthinkable. There were only nine gun homicides in Japan in 2018, compared to 39,740 in the United States, which has less than three times the population, CNN reports. There are only .25 guns per 100 people in Japan; in the United States, there are 120 per 100 people.