Kishida Fumio

Remarks at the State Funeral for Abe Shinzo

delivered 27 September 2022, Kitanomaru Park, Nippon Budokan, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

 

 At the opening of the state funeral for Mr. ABE Shinzo, former Prime Minister, Junior First Rank of Court, and recipient of the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, it is with great reverence that I deliver this address on behalf of the Government to offer my heartfelt respects for the departed.

On July 8, as the election campaign entered its final stage, Abe-san, you addressed a crowd passionately about the path forward this country should take, just as you always did.

That was suddenly pierced by violence as something utterly reprehensible occurred.

Who among us could have predicted, even in the slightest measure, that such a day would come? Abe-san, you were someone we needed to stay with us for much, much longer.

There was never a doubt in my mind that you would continue to do your utmost as a compass, pointing the way for Japan and the world for another decade, even two, into the future.

But that expectation was by no means limited to me. Here today to mourn your passing are participants from every quarter of Japanese society as well as countries and regions around the globe. They are all of the same mind as they gaze upon you.

And yet there is no hope for that ever to be realized. It is disappointing beyond words and a matter of the most profound regret.

You and I were both first elected to the Diet 29 years ago, in the 40th House of Representatives general election, and it was together that we plunged into the world of politics.

We were members of the same incoming class of freshman legislators, and I watched you closely as you tirelessly applied yourself to study and in-depth research into national security and diplomacy as well as the economy and social security.

I know that more than anything else, you deepened your interest in the cases of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea, having held an intense outrage and an extraordinary sense of justice about that from well before you gained your seat in the legislature.

I can hardly imagine the regret you must have felt in not having ultimately succeeded in bringing the abductees back to Japan. To fulfill your last wishes, I will do everything in my power to enable the abductees to return to their families, who long to welcome them home.

In 2006, you became the prime minister at the age of 52, as Japan's first prime minister born after the war.

Now I fondly recall watching excitedly and with anticipation in those days as you, serving as the flag bearer for our generation, took on fundamental challenges facing our nation that had remained unchanged since the war, first one and then another.

You were always emphatic that our nation Japan is a country blessed with stunning natural beauty, a rich history, and unique culture. It continues to hold tremendous potential.

What will showcase that potential fully is our courage, our wisdom, and our efforts. Let us take pride in being Japanese and discuss what we should do for the future of Japan.

That message to the Japanese people you delivered as our youngest post-war prime minister was simple and clear.

By elevating the Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense, thereby enabling it to formulate its own budget, enacting the National Referendum Law, and building major bridges towards constitutional reform, you extricated the nation from its post-war regime.

You also revised the Fundamental Law of Education for the first time in roughly six decades, planting the seeds for a new Japanese identity.

Standing before the Parliament of the Republic of India, you advocated "the confluence of the two seas," putting forth for the first time the concept of the Indo-Pacific.

All of these form the cornerstone that still stands firm in the present day.

At around that time in a Diet session you fielded the question, "What, exactly, characterizes a prime minister?" to which you replied that a prime minister is not a metal casting that can be made by simply pouring molten iron into a mould.

Instead, you claimed, a prime minister is forged metal, which takes its shape only by being struck time and time again. That illustration is entirely fitting for a person who began his working life in the steel industry.

For someone like yourself, there must have been nothing more trying than having to end your tenure as prime minister after only one year. But we know very well what was to follow.

Until you once again took office as prime minister in the closing days of 2012, you disciplined yourself to become metal thoroughly forged, far stronger than before.

You who advocated "the confluence of the two seas" deepened that concept further, cultivating it to become the framework of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" that encompasses many countries and includes massive numbers of people.

You not only markedly strengthened our ties with the United States and dramatically reinforced Japan-U.S. deterrence but also enhanced our cooperation with India and Australia to form the "Quad" framework, based on reasoning you had long promoted.

Your multi-layered diplomacy fostered favorable relations with every region in the world without exception.

By concluding an Economic Partnership Agreement and a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Europe and pursuing straightforward diplomacy that was decisive to a degree heretofore unseen, you built deep cooperative relations one after another with the Asia region, the Eurasia region, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The path to getting the Legislation for Peace and Security, the Special Intelligence Protection Act, and other laws passed was extremely arduous, but you overcame it all and brought those bills to enactment. In so doing, you succeeded in maintaining Japan's national security at an even higher level.

It was Mr. Abe Shinzo who made the greatest efforts of anyone, anywhere on earth to maintain and improve an open international order that values freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law and forms a dependable roof that enables the security of Japan, the region, and indeed the entire world.

It is one of the proudest achievements of my life that I, as your Minister for Foreign Affairs, and I as your close friend who experienced the same era as you, was privileged to join your cabinet and single-mindedly engage in work that expanded Japan's diplomatic horizons.

Here in Japan, you showered young people, and women in particular, with encouragement. By easing the burden of childrearing as much as possible, you worked to raise the birth rate to the level desired by the public.

Your determination to raise the consumption tax rate solely to use the resulting increased revenue to help lower day-care costs and tuition fees stemmed from your belief that Japan's young people would most certainly propel Japan forward from then on by producing something new, once their faith in themselves was restored.

While you may indeed have led the longest-serving administration since our nation adopted constitutional government, history will remember you not for the length of your time in office but for the achievements you made.

You once quoted NITOBE Inazō in an address you delivered at the graduation ceremony of the National Defense Academy, saying, "Courage is doing what is right."

Abe-san, you were indeed a man of courage.

I will forever remember you fondly as a man of wholehearted sincerity and exquisite compassion who took the utmost care of his friends, and as a husband who loved his wife Akie profoundly.

There is no question that many people the world over reminisce over you, talking about Japan by saying, "When Mr. Abe was prime minister" or "In the Prime Minister Abe era."

I will end my remarks with a pledge, that using the foundation you laid, I will do my utmost to build a Japan, region, and world that is sustainable and inclusive, where everyone shines.

Abe-san. Prime Minister Abe.

Rest well, after all that you have done for our nation. And thank you most sincerely. May you rest in eternal peace.


 

「従一位、大勲位菊花章頸飾(けいしょく)、安倍晋三元内閣総理大臣の国葬儀が執り行われるに当たり、ここに、政府を代表し、謹んで追悼の言葉を捧げます。

 7月8日、選挙戦が最終盤を迎える中、安倍さん、あなたは、いつものとおり、この国の進むべき道を聴衆の前で熱く語りかけておられた。

 そして、突然、それは、暴力によって遮られた。あってはならないことが起きてしまいました。
 一体誰が、こんな日が来ることを寸毫(すんごう)なりとも予知することができたでしょうか。安倍さん、あなたは、まだまだ長く生きていてもらわなければならない人でした。

 日本と世界の行く末を示す羅針盤として、この先も、10年、いや、20年、力を尽くしてくださるものと、私は確信しておりました。

 私ばかりではありません。本日、ここに、日本の各界各層から、世界中の国と地域から、あなたを惜しむ方々が、参列してくださいました。皆、同じ思いを持って、あなたの姿にまなざしを注いでいるはずです。
 しかし、それは、もはや、かなうことはない。残念でなりません。痛恨の極みであります。

 29年前、第40回衆議院議員総選挙に、あなたと私は初めて当選し、共に政治の世界へ飛び込みました。
 私は、同期の一人として、安全保障、外交について、さらには経済、社会保障に関しても、勉強と研鑽(けんさん)にたゆみなかったあなたの姿をつぶさに見てまいりました。

 何よりも、北朝鮮が日本国民を連れ去った拉致事件について、あなたは、まだ議会に席を得るはるか前から、強い憤りを持ち、並々ならぬ正義感をもって、関心を深めておられた姿を私は知っています。

 被害者の方々を、ついに連れ戻すことができなかったことは、さぞかし無念であったでしょう。私は、あなたの遺志を継ぎ、一日千秋の思いで待つ御家族のもとに拉致被害者が帰ってくることができるよう、全力を尽くす所存です。
 平成18年、あなたは、52歳で内閣総理大臣になりました。戦後に生を受けた人として、初めての例でした。
 私たち世代の旗手として、当時、あなたが、戦後置き去りにされた国家の根幹的な課題に、次々とチャレンジされるのを、期待と興奮をもって眺めたことを、今、思い起こしております。

 私たちの国日本は、美しい自然に恵まれた、長い歴史と独自の文化を持つ国だ。まだまだ大いなる可能性を秘めている。それを引き出すのは、私たちの勇気と英知と努力である。日本人であることを誇りに思い、日本の明日のために何をなすべきかを語り合おうではないか。

 戦後最も若い総理大臣が発した国民へのメッセージは、シンプルで明快でした。
 戦後レジームからの脱却。防衛庁を独自の予算編成ができる防衛省に昇格させ、国民投票法を制定して憲法改正に向けた大きな橋を架けられました。

 教育基本法を約60年ぶりに改めて、新しい日本のアイデンティティの種をまきました。
 インドの国会に立ったあなたは、二つの海の交わりを説いて、インド太平洋という概念を初めて打ち出しました。
 これらは全て、今日に連なる礎です。

 その頃、あなたは、国会で、総理大臣とはどういうものか、との質問を受け、溶けた鉄を鋳型に流し込めばそれでできる鋳造品ではないと答えています。

 たたかれて、たたかれて、やっと形を成す鍛造品。それが総理というものだと、そう言っています。鉄鋼マンとして世に出た人らしい例えです。

 そんなあなたにとって、わずか1年で総理の職務に自ら終止符を打たねばならなかったことくらい、つらい事はなかったでありましょう。しかし、私たちはもう、よく承知しています。

 平成24年の暮れ、もう一度総理の座に就くまでに、あなたは、自らを一層強い鍛造品として鍛えていたのです。
 二つの海の交わりを説いたあなたは、更に考えを深め、自由で開かれたインド太平洋という、たくさんの国、多くの人々を包摂する枠組みへと育てました。

 米国との関係を格段に強化し、日米の抑止力を飛躍的に強くした上に、年来の主張に基づき、インド、オーストラリアとの連携を充実させて、QUADの枠組みを作りました。
 あなたの重層的な外交は、世界のどの地域とも良好な関係を築かれた。

 欧州との経済連携協定と戦略的パートナーシップ協定の締結、そして、アジア地域、ユーラシア地域、中東、アフリカ、中南米地域と、これまでにない果断で率直な外交を展開され、次々と深い協力関係を築かれていった。

 平和安全法制、特定秘密保護法など、苦しい経過を乗り切って、あなたは成就させ、ために、我が国の安全は、より一層保てるようになりました。

 日本と地域、さらには世界の安全を支える頼もしい屋根をかけ、自由、民主主義、人権と法の支配を重んじる開かれた国際秩序の維持増進に、世界の誰より力を尽くしたのは、安倍晋三その人でした。
 私は、外務大臣として、その同じ時代を生きてきた盟友として、あなたの内閣に加わり、日本外交の地平を広げる仕事に、一意専心取り組むことができたことを、一生の誇りとすることでしょう。

 国内にあっては、あなたは若い人々を、とりわけ女性を励ましました。子育ての負担を少しでも和らげることで、希望出生率をかなえようと努力をされた。

 消費税を上げる代わりに、増える歳入を、保育費や学費を下げる道に用いる決断をしたのは、その道の先に、自信を取り戻した日本の若者が、新しい何かを生み出して、日本を前に進めてくれるに違いないと信じていたからです。
あなたは、我が国憲政史上最も長く政権にありましたが、歴史は、その長さよりも、達成した事績によって、あなたを記憶することでしょう。

『勇とは義(ただ)しき事をなすことなり』という新渡戸(にとべ)稲造の言葉を、あなたは、一度、防衛大学校の卒業式で使っています。


 安倍さん、あなたこそ、勇気の人でありました。

 一途(いちず)な誠の人、熱い情けの人であって、友人をこよなく大切にし、昭恵(あきえ)夫人を深く愛した良き夫でもあったあなたのことを、私は、いつまでも懐かしく思い出すだろうと思います。
 そして、日本の、世界中の多くの人たちが、安倍総理の頃、安倍総理の時代、などとあなたを懐かしむに違いありません。

 あなたが敷いた土台の上に、持続的で、全ての人が輝く包摂的な日本を、地域を、世界をつくっていくことを誓いとしてここに述べ、追悼の辞といたします。

 安倍さん、安倍総理。

 お疲れ様でした。そして、本当にありがとうございました。

どうか、安らかにお休みください。」


Original English Language Text Source: Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet at: https://japan.kantei.go.jp/101_kishida/statement/202209/_00011.html

Original Images and Video Source: Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet at: https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/101_kishida/actions/202209/27funeral.html

Japanese Language Video Note: Frame interpolated from 30fps to 60fps

Page Updated: 2/17/23

U.S. Copyright Status: Texts and Images of PM Kishida = Used in compliance with the terms found here. Video = Used in compliance with the terms found here. Image of Flag of Japan = Public domain.

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