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Shinzo Abe, photographed here for an exclusive interview with Nikkei in 2018, was Japan's longest-serving prime minister. His assassination shocked the nation and leaves the future of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party uncertain. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)
The Big Story

Japan after Abe: Political stability under threat?

Leaderless conservatives, economic challenges and uncertain future for Kishida all loom

NAOYA YOSHINO, Nikkei political editor | Japan

TOKYO -- On July 8, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was campaigning in the western city of Nara, ahead of close-fought elections for Japan's upper house two days later. It was a characteristically virtuoso performance: Abe glad-handed with onlookers and delivered a stump speech in support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's candidate.

Mid-speech, two loud blasts were heard and Abe fell to the ground, fatally wounded by an assassin's homemade gun.

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