Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday that Japan is one with the world in mourning the passing of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. He referred to the beloved figure as a “great leader” and said he “achieved a great deal by putting national reconciliation at the center of his nation-building.”
The death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was announced by South African President Jacob Zuma who said he “passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of December 2013″. Mandiba, as he was affectionately called, has the distinction of bringing his country out of the shadows of apartheid into a multi-racial democracy without having a civil war. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida offered his condolences to Mandela’s family and the whole of South Africa who are still deeply shocked, even as he has battled a serious illness the past months. “I express from my heart respect for the achievements of the former South African president and hope that the government and people of South Africa will get over their grief and proceed to develop their country,” Kishida said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government is considering sending Abe and other Cabinet members or senior officials to attend the funeral, which will be expected to be “the world’s biggest funeral diplomacy.” Suga said that because Mandela is such an important global figure, they will carefully determine who should represent Japan for that somber occasion.
[ via Global Post ]