Yesterday I visited the Consular Office of Japan in Christchurch to sign the book of condolence for former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe.
Christchurch has had a long relationship with Japan. Our sister city ties to Kurashiki in Okayama Prefecture will be celebrated with the 50th anniversary next year in March and the goodwill student ambassador exchanges are an important part of that connection.
We remember the 70 members of the Japanese USAR team that came to our city in the aftermath of the February earthquake over a decade ago only to return home to the devastation of the Tōhoku earthquake in March 2011.
Abe-san visited Christchurch in 2014 with Abe Akie-san to honour the 28 Japanese citizens who died in the 2011 tragedy (photos in this post) and following the terrorist attack in 2019 wrote to New Zealand, expressing his heartfelt sympathy for the bereaved families and those injured.
I was shocked to hear of his tragic death and want to express my deep sympathy to all people affected by this unconscionable act of violence. David.