The Catholic prelate of Tokyo condemned the killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan last week, saying that “violence kills democracy.”
“Violence kills freedom. Violence kills justice,” said Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo in a report on Radio Veritas Asia.
“The differences of political opinion have to be solved through dialogue and voting in freedom,” he said, adding that “only dialogue provides real solution to establish justice and peace.”
The Japanese Catholic leader said he is “deeply saddened and shocked to hear the news of the attack on the former prime minister.”
“I feel not only sadness but also indignation as this is a violent challenge to what we believe in this country,” he said.
Abe, 67, was giving a campaign speech on a street in the south-central Japanese city of Nara on Friday morning when he was assassinated.
The archbishop said that although Catholic Church leader in the country and the late prime minister “had great differences in opinion over several issues … Mr. Abe showed great respect to the Catholic Church, particularly to the Holy See, as he must have understood the influence of the Holy Father on international society over the peace issue.”
Abe met Pope Francis met in Tokyo for a private discussion on several issues during the pope’s visit to the country in 2019.
“Both agreed to continue to advocate for a world without nuclear weapons, the eradication of poverty, human rights, and the protection of the environment,” said Archbishop Kikuchi.
He said that both leaders “aim for the same goals, but their approaches to achieving the goal were not the same.”
Over the weekend, Pope Francis expressed his condolences at the assassination of Abe.
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the assassination of Mr. Shinzo Abe, former prime minister of Japan, and he offers heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the people of Japan,” read the July 9 telegram, signed by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“In the wake of this senseless act, he prays that Japanese society will be strengthened in its historic commitment to peace and nonviolence.”