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Shinzo Abe

Australia to send Albanese, 3 former PMs to Japan for Abe funeral

Howard, Abbott, Turnbull to pay tribute to slain ex-leader

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who will attend the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, called Abe "a true friend of Australia" in a Sept. 8 statement.   © Reuters

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and three of the country's former leaders will attend the state funeral of slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Sept. 27, the Australian government said Thursday.

Albanese's visit to Japan from Sept. 26 to 28 will be his second since taking office in May.

Albanese and former prime ministers John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull will travel as part of the Australian delegation to the funeral to pay tribute to Abe's legacy and the friendship between the two nations, the government said in a statement.

"Mr. Abe was a remarkable leader, a catalyst for change in Japan and the region, a true friend of Australia," Albanese said in the same statement.

"We will continue to strengthen our partnership to promote a free, open and resilient region," he said, referring to the Indo-Pacific.

Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, was shot and killed on July 8 while delivering an election stump speech on a road in the western city of Nara. The assassination sent shock waves across the country and the world.

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