Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be remembered for his “global leadership through unknown times” following his “incredibly sad” death, Boris Johnson said.
Abe, 67, was shot in the back during a campaign speech in western Japan on Friday and later died in hospital.
The shooting caused shock and sadness among British politicians when the news broke on Friday morning.
Johnson joined former Prime Ministers Theresa May and Tony Blair in paying tribute to Abe.
Johnson tweeted: “Unbelievably sad news about Shinzo Abe.
“Many will remember his global leadership through unknown times. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people.
“The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.”
Mrs May, who won Shinzo Abe’s backing for her Brexit deal after talks in the UK in January 2019, tweeted: “Truly heartbreaking to hear about the death of my friend Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan. , killed in the most terrible. of the circumstances while he was campaigning for his political party.”
Abe visited London in January 2019 and held talks with May as he sought MPs’ backing for his Brexit deal.
On that visit, Abe told the prime minister that avoiding a no-deal Brexit was the “wish of the whole world”, praising the strong ties between the UK and Japan.
Johnson also met Abe at the G7 in the summer of 2019 and offered a warm tribute to his “years of service” as Abe retired in 2020.
Foreign Minister Nadhim Zahawi was also among those who paid tribute to the politician, calling his death “heartbreaking.”
“We entered politics to serve and try to make the world a better place,” he tweeted.
“Shinzo Abe has lost his life in pursuit of that noble goal. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Abe was “punched while carrying out his role in the democratic process.”
She said she was “shocked” to learn of his death.
“A tragic loss of a great figure who helped transform Japan and forge even closer ties with the UK,” he tweeted.
Abe was the longest-serving leader in Japan before resigning due to health reasons in 2020.
Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack, which shocked people in a country known as one of the safest in the world.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer had previously called it a “dark day”.
He tweeted: “Our hearts go out to Shinzo Abe’s family and the Japanese people.
“A truly dark day.”
Former Prime Minister David Cameron met Abe many times, and the Japanese leader was among those who warned the UK of the dangers of leaving the EU.
Abe used a Downing Street meeting with David Cameron just weeks before the 2016 referendum vote to emphasize the value of EU membership to Japanese investors in the UK.
Cameron called it “devastating and truly shocking news.”
“Shinzo Abe was a good friend personally, a strong partner from the UK and a thoroughly kind and decent man.
“I enjoyed working with him. My heart goes out to his family and friends, and to the people of Japan at this sad time.”
Tony Blair, the longtime Labor Prime Minister, also worked with and met Abe in recent years in Downing Street.
On Friday, he called Abe a “leader and statesman of extraordinary quality and character.”
“I knew him and worked with him and always had great respect for his ability.
“I am shocked and saddened by his senseless murder.
“I send my deepest condolences to his wife Akie, with whom my wife Cherie also worked very closely, and to all the people of Japan.”