Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has expressed his condolences to the family of former Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe, who died after he was shot while campaigning for an election this morning.
In a statement, he recalled an audience he had had with Abe, the special envoy of Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at Istana Negara on March 11.
"At the time, he was on a three-day visit to Malaysia in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Japan," he said.
"At the meeting, he was conferred an honorary doctorate in political economics, in conjunction with the 36th convocation ceremony at the International Islamic University Malaysia.
"The audience was the second with Abe, after the 126th coronation ceremony of Maharaja Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Oct 23, 2019."
Sultan Abdullah said he and his queen expressed their grief over Abe's death and hoped that his family would be resilient in the face of such a trial.
"His death is a huge loss to Japan and its people," he said.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob meanwhile said he was deeply saddened to hear the news of Abe's assassination.
Ismail, who is on an official visit to Turkiye, added that Abe had played an important role in nurturing ties between Malaysia and Japan, and was a leading supporter of Malaysia's Look East Policy.
Abe, 67, was shot from behind as he was campaigning for a parliamentary election in the western city of Nara.
He was rushed to hospital but bled to death from two deep wounds, one on the right side of his neck.
The hospital said he had no vital signs when he was brought in.
Abe served two terms as prime minister of Japan, stepping down in 2020 due to ill health.