Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be remembered for his “global leadership in 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 was joined by former prime ministers Theresa May and Tony Blair in honor of Abe.
Johnson tweeted: “Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe.
“His global leadership in unknown times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with your family, friends and the Japanese people.
“The UK is with you in this dark and sad time.”
May, who won Shinzo Abe’s support for her Brexit deal after negotiations in the UK in January 2019, tweeted: of the circumstances while campaigning for her political party.
Abe visited London in January 2019, chatting with May as she sought support from lawmakers for her Brexit deal.
On that visit, Abe told the prime minister that avoiding a no-deal Brexit was the “wish of the whole world” as he praised the strong ties between the UK and Japan.
Johnson also met with Abe at the G7 in the summer of 2019 and offered a warm tribute to his “years of service” as Abe stepped down in 2020.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi was also among those who paid tribute to the politician, calling his death “moving”.
“We entered politics to serve and try to make the world a better place,” he tweeted.
“Shinzo Abe lost his life in pursuit of this noble goal. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Abe was “shot down while playing 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,” she tweeted.
Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader before stepping down for health reasons in 2020.
Police arrested the alleged shooter 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 once 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 has met with Abe many times, and the Japanese leader was among those who warned the UK about 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 for the UK and a completely kind and decent man.
“I enjoyed working with him. My heart goes out to his family and friends and the people of Japan at this very sad time.”
Tony Blair, the former Labor prime minister, has also worked 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 your senseless murder.
“I send my deepest condolences to his wife Akie, with whom my wife Cherie also worked closely, and to all the people of Japan.”