Killing of Shinzo Abe stuns nation where shooting deaths are unusual

David Ono Image
Friday, July 8, 2022
Entire nation of Japan stunned by assassination of Shinzo Abe
ABC7's David Ono is reporting live from Tokyo where the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stunned a nation.

TOKYO, Japan (KABC) -- Japan is considered one of the world's safest countries, with strict gun regulations that often keep the number of annual gun deaths in the single digits.

That's why the news of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is particularly stunning here.

It's shocking to hear of anybody shot by a gun, much less a beloved former leader.

On the streets and in the subways of Tokyo, you can see throngs of people glued to their phones to see the latest details of the tragic shooting.

In 2018, ABC7's David Ono met Abe at his official residence in Tokyo as part of a delegation with the U.S.-Japan Council. Abe was friendly and soft-spoken, which may seem surprising for a man who was able to stay in power so long, becoming the longest-serving prime minister in Japan's history.

Abe also had significant ties to the Southern California region.

In the 1970s, Abe attended classes at the University of Southern California. His family also maintained a long friendship with a family that lived in the Los Angeles area.

Mary Eichenhofer's mother, Harriet Chia Lin Moore, originally hailed from China but her family moved to Japan after World War II and opened a nightclub there. In that role, she was to become friends with Abe's parents well before they were married.

From 2018: Shinzo Abe had unique connections to Southern California

In this 2018 report, David Ono highlights how Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had unique connections to Southern California that include time spent at USC in the 1970s.

Harriet later moved to Los Angeles but would travel back to Japan and maintain a friendship with the Abe family.

Then when Abe attended USC in the 1970s, he would often visit Harriet, looking upon her almost as a second mother.

Harriet's daughter, Mary, has photos of Abe that date back through his life, from his wedding and even to him as a toddler.

As a young man, Mary told David Ono, Shinzo was kind, polite and easygoing. But even then, she said, it always seemed as if he had a great future ahead of him.

"There was just something about him," she said.