September 28, 2023

TOKYO — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make an unscheduled stop in Tokyo to pay respects to the assassinated former Japanese leader and staunch U.S. ally Shinzo Abe, the State Department said Sunday.

Blinken is in Southeast Asia for meetings with world leaders. The State Department did not specify which officials Blinken will meet while he is in Tokyo.

Blinken’s visit comes as the investigation continues into the motives and weapons of the alleged gunman, as well as the security protocols in place, and as Japan holds its upper house election. A win by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, of which Abe and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are members, would clear the way for Kishida to enact some of his most ambitious and controversial policies in coming years.

“Secretary Blinken will travel to Tokyo, Japan, to offer condolences to the Japanese people on the death of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and to meet with senior Japanese officials. The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and has never been stronger,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Sunday.

Blinken will depart Bangkok for Tokyo on Sunday night local time.

Hudson reported from Bangkok.

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