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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Shinzo Abe's Assassination; Russia Pushes Into Donetsk; UK Political Crisis. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired July 08, 2022 - 17:00   ET


ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. And a very warm welcome. Isa Soares in for Bianca Nobilo. And this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF. It is 10:00 p.m. here

in London and 6:00 a.m. in Tokyo.

Japan is waking up in shock and mourning after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated.

And Russian forces push into the Ukrainian region of Donetsk, President Zelenskyy says his country will not cede territory for peace.

Then, the race to succeed Boris Johnson as British prime minister has begun. We will look at the likely contenders.


But, first, it is 6:00 a.m. in Japan, the morning after Japan's longest serving prime minister was assassinated in broad daylight. Former Prime

Minister Shinzo Abe was giving a speech at a campaign rally near Osaka when a gunman opened fire. That moment was caught on fire. A warning, the video

is disturbing.

In the video, you can hear Mr. Abe speaking to the crowd, when two loud shots rang out and smoke then filled the air. Police detained a 41-year-old

man at the scene. They say he confessed and was charged.

Mr. Abe was rushed to hospital it was declared dead hours later. Doctors say he died from blood loss.

Well, mourners have filled the scene of the assassination. You can see, there were flowers. Japan's current prime minister joins them in their


Have a listen.


FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through interpreter): We have lost a great politician who has made great achievements in various fields in

order to open up the future of this country. Once again, I'm deeply saddened we lost in this way.


SOARES: Let's get more on this.

Blake Essig joins me now.

Blake, of course, as day breaks in Tokyo, what more you learning this hour about the suspect and the motive here?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, overnight, we have learned more about the suspect in the assassination of the former Prime Minister Shinzo

Abe. Police say the suspect, the 41-year-old unemployed man, has admitted to shooting the former prime minister. He was swarmed by security after the

shots were fired. He was arrested on the spot, possession on what NHK, Japan's public broadcasters, are describing as a handmade weapon.

Now, police say that this man went after Abe because he hates a certain group that he believed Abe had ties to. This man is being investigated as a

suspect for murder at this point, with 90 police officers dedicated to this case.


ESSIG (voice-over): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was speaking at a campaign rally east of Osaka on Thursday when chaos ensued.

Two shots can be heard. Abe is hit in the chest and neck.

The weapon: a handmade gun lying on the ground. Bystanders tried to aid the former prime minister before he was rushed to the nearest hospital. But

soon news broke. He had succumbed to his injuries and died at age 67.

HIDENORI FUKUSHIMA, PROFESSOR, NARA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY (through translator): There were two bullet wounds. He was in a cardiopulmonary

arrest after damage to large blood vessels in the heart. We took resuscitative measures, but unfortunately, he died at 5:03 p.m.

ESSIG: Police have arrested the suspect, a 41-year-old man who did not flee after the shooting. A rare occurrence in Japan, a country with one of

the world's lowest gun rates.

FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): He loved this country and constantly looked beyond the current generation working hard

for a brighter future of this country, leaving behind many major successes in various categories.

ESSIG: World leaders condemned the assassination. U.S. President Biden stunned in outraged by Abe's death, calling him a champion of the

friendship between our people.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This hasn't happened in Japan in decades. I'm told all the way back to the late '30s. The Justice

Department is going to be going in and give me more details.

ESSIG: Former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump also grieving the death of a personal, quote, friend of America.

From China, reaction came from the country's embassy in Japan, highlighting Abe's contribution to promoting the improvement and development of Sino-

Japanese relations.

Shinzo Abe's relations with Beijing were sometimes contentious. He was the first Japanese PM to meet with the Chinese counterpart in years but was

also critical of Beijing's stance on Taiwan.

His premiership marked Japan's history in bilateral relations. However, his assassination now a black dot in the country's history, a violent act of

crime due to send ripples of shock across Japan.


ESSIG (on camera): And you hit the nail on the head earlier, Isa. People here in Japan waking up to an overwhelming sense of sadness and shock

really across the entire country, while Abe, a controversial figure here in Japan at times for his policies, he was incredibly important, a huge

polarizing figure. News of the shooting is awfully shock this nation, really the world.

During a press conference shortly after the shooting, current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida really encapsulating the feelings of the people in



He appeared emotional, almost in tears while speaking to the press. He said that this is not a forgivable act. Those emotions will likely only deepened

with the news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been assassinated - - Isa.

SOARES: Blake Essig, thanks very much. Thanks for your reporting, Blake.

Well, I'm joined now by Dr. Nancy Snow, professor public diplomacy at the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.

Nancy, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.

As you've just heard there from our correspondent on the ground, Japan, the nation's clearly shaken by the loss of its former prime minister, but also

by the brutal manner in which his life was taken. Give us a sense of the impact his assassination maybe having on the region, Nancy.

NANCY SNOW, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC DIPLOMACY, KYOTO UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES: I think it is going to impact the national psyche of the people,

the Japanese people take a very humble pride in being a peaceful nation, beautiful nation. Even Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrote a book about

beautiful Japan. And it is celebrated that you can go about your business and there is a social contract where we honor and show respect to each


As an American living there, I try to keep my voice down when I am in public, because I tend to project. All of this plays out with the level of

mutual trust.

So when you see that imagery, the video of the last words of former prime minister and then the shooting, it is so upsetting. It will have a

multiplier effect of the worst-case scenario for the nation. And my heart really goes out to the wonderful people of Japan. Japan is now number one

around the world of a place to visit, after COVID or after we deal with COVID because it has been closed to tourists and many others in the last

two and a half years. It is slowly reopening.

But this is really a tragic day. I still haven't come to terms with this personal loss, the fact that Shinzo Abe is gone at the age of 67. I was an

Abe fellow, which was a tribute to his father, Shintaro Abe, the former foreign minister. And I wear that now as a real thank you to Japan because

the game in opportunity to go and live in Japan, where I live today.

SOARES: And when you say, Nancy, that you think the psyche of the nation will change, we are looking at a video of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

meeting that proximity between the people.

How do you think that will change? Do you think you have to really evaluate these traditions that they have held so close and so dear for so long?

SNOW: They will reevaluate. There is no doubt about it. But right now, we are in such morning, and I just can't emphasize enough the feeling that the

Japanese people have about being a bit of an exception to the rule in terms of the safety and security and the sense of comfort that one feels walking

about the city.

I have done that. In the middle of the night walked around Tokyo, greater Tokyo 35 million people, it's stunning. I don't know of any other place

like Japan.

So, I hope it won't change too much, but we are going to have to ask these questions. Is this a new normal for Japan?

SOARES: Nancy, I was speaking to a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, who said he was perhaps Shinzo Abe was perhaps the most consequential prime

minister in Japan's history. How was it perceived at home? Because, internationally, he was such a towering figure, wasn't he?

SNOW: A true towering figure and there is no doubt about it, I would agree with that statement. Consider that he dominated as prime minister in this

century, going back to his first short-term in 2006 to 2007, and then from 2012 to 2020. He did so much.

We know already Abenomics, womenomics -- the world assembly of women an international women's conference. He raised the profile and gender and

equality in Japan. There is always more that we can do, but he did move the needle down the road any did in a way where everyone could really get


I love writing about Abe and I will continue to write about Abe. Even if I disagree with some of his policies, I have such respect for him as a leader

and a charismatic leader and his ability to put Japan on the global stage, where it needs to stay. That will be his legacy.

SOARES: And also of course something that stood out to me was Secretary Blinken said and Secretary of State Blinken saying it was his vision that

so many of us were lightly is ahead of so many others.

Dr. Nancy Snow, professor of public diplomacy at the Kyoto University for foreign studies. Thank you very much, Nancy. Really appreciate your


SNOW: You're welcome.

SOARES: Now, we'll give you a sense of the international reaction. World leaders are expressing their shock also at Shinzo Abe's killing.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who worked with Abe during his tenure calls this an act of unjustifiable cruelty and has ordered three days of

national mourning. Brazil is home of the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, close to 2 million people.

French President Emmanuel Macron is sending his condolences to the Japanese people, saying we have lost a great leader who, quote, dedicated his life

to his country and work to bring balance to the world.

The Dalai Lama writes that Abe was a steadfast friend of the Tibetan people who truly lived a meaningful life in the service of others.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meantime sentence deepest condolences to the former prime minister's family, saying this heinous act

of violence has no excuse.

Still to come right here tonight, life on the frontlines. Civilians and Ukraine's donetsk region braced for even more attacks as Russian forces


And the British leadership contest begins. Boris Johnson isn't leaving quite just yet. Ahead, we'll bring you the latest drama playing out in the

halls of Westminster.

You are watching CNN.


SOARES: Ukrainian forces are fighting to slow advance in the Donbas as more than 40 towns and villages come under attack. Russia is focusing on

the Donetsk region after capturing virtually all of neighboring Luhansk.


Ukraine says Russian forces are slowly gaining ground, despite heavy resistance. It is urged all civilians to leave but some say they have no

choice but to remain behind.

Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEAMEL (through translator): Every day, people are being evacuated. But we have nothing to go on. No pension and no place to go. We

sit and wait, maybe somebody will give us something.


SOARES: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells CNN that his country will never give up territory to Russia in exchange for peace. He visited

the troops as you can see there to the west of Donetsk on Friday. He also visited wounded servicemen in hospital in the city of Dnipro giving the

medals of valor.

Let's bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt. He joins me now from Kharkiv.

And, Alex what we have heard in the last 24 hours is that the Ukrainians really conceding that the Russians have made some territorial gains. But

Zelenskyy still very much adamant that he won't see an inch or territory.

So, how is -- how is Ukrainian forces preparing for perhaps what is a very long fight ahead?

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, from the Ukrainian perspective this is going to come down to what's

Western countries can donate in terms of weapons and in terms of ammunition. They say these Ukrainian troops that we have spent days

speaking with, they have the morale, they have the results with, they lack is the weaponry.

President Zelenskyy has said that troops were drawn from the lance reason or to save lives from that Russian onslaught, but he insists that the

Donbas that has been lost that can be retaken with the support of the West and their weaponry. To some extent, we are seeing that coming through today

with a new $400 million aid package, security systems package from the Pentagon.

We have seen Ukrainian forces take back territory notably around here where I am in Kharkiv. They have pushed the Russian border and in fact we took a

trip to a village that had been occupied near the front lines. We went there today with postal workers who were on a very specific an important


Take a look.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): In downtown Kharkiv, this team of postal workers is gearing up for a trip to the front lines, a village, until recently, was occupied by


Their mission is critical. They have cars full of cash to deliver to Ukrainian pensioners who rely on the funds to survive. They drive past

fields littered to mines, to Vilkhivka, where the older residents have already gathered in the small post office, pockmarked by shrapnel.

Only the most vulnerable people stayed here, says the head of today's operation. During the Russian offensive, it was impossible to evacuate

these people. We come here because no one else will help them.

Bills are counted out and one by one, they collect around $100 at the counter. Their pension for an entire month.

Seventy-eight-year-old Stepania Leskiv has come from nearby. We walk back with her past a school destroyed. Stepania's home also lies in ruin, hit in

late March.

She bursts into tears at the sight of it. And says the shelling happened right in front of her. The house started burning. I fell down and I managed

to crawl out to the road, she said. In 20, 30 minutes, everything was burned down.

She is staying with a neighbor, but worries what will happen when winter comes. She is a widow whose son died from the Chernobyl disaster.

I wish it was over for me, she says. When the bombing starts, I don't know where to hide.

Russian forces occupying much of this region have been pushed back by Ukrainian troops. Fear is growing they will try to come back soon. These

Ukrainian soldiers claim they are ready.

They might be stronger than us in numbers and in weapons. You know that, this soldier says. But we are much more motivated. We will be fighting

until our last bullet, so they don't take our land.

These Ukrainian forces have positioned this rocket launcher here among the trees to try to hide it on the edge of this field. This is called an

Uragan. It's an old Soviet-era Ukrainian rocket launcher, much more basic with far less range than the handful of American rocket launchers that have

been given to the Ukrainian military.

But this is what these troops have. And they tell us that their commanders today have given them the coordinates of a Russian position inside Ukraine

to fire on. In a couple moments, they will drive the truck with its rockets a short distance away and target that Russian position.

The launcher rumbles into the middle of the field and fires four rockets in quick succession.


Black smoke trailing into the sky. We move out in case there is a response, but the soldiers' day is just getting started.


MARQUARDT (on camera): And what we heard from those Ukrainian soldiers is that familiar refrain of, we need more and we need more sophisticated

weaponry. They are getting more sophisticated weaponry in that 400 million dollar new security assistance package from the United States. It includes

1,000 rounds of 155 millimeter artillery shells. The Pentagon saying these are a new type of artillery that is more precise.

And then, Isa, most notably the advanced, again, highly precise longer range rocket systems called the HIMARS that the U.S. had given eight of to

Ukraine. They are adding for more, bringing the total to a dozen of those HIMARS systems.

We should note that Russia has claimed that they destroyed two of their systems. That, however, Isa, has been denied by both Ukraine and United

States -- Isa.

SOARES: Alex Marquardt there for us in Kharkiv, thanks very much, Alex.

Well, here in the U.K., there is one question really everyone is asking. Who will be the next prime minister?

Earlier, former finance minister Rishi Sunak entered the race. He and Defense Minister Ben Wallace are tipped as favorites. It comes after Boris

Johnson succumbed to overwhelming pressure to resign as the leader, but he's not leaving immediately saying he will stay on as caretaker prime

minister until October.

His opponents aren't happy and they have no confidence. Take a listen.


KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARY LEADER: My preferred option and the right option is that the prime minister should go straight away. And I

think that there is plenty of people in the conservative party who agree with me on that, he shouldn't be desperately clinging on when he has had to

leave office because of his disgraceful conduct. And that is why I say the Tory Party should remove him. And if they don't, we will step up in the

national interest and vote with confidence.


SOARES: Keir Starmer there.

Well and good news for the U.K. opposition leader say that he did not break COVID laws back in 2020. Keir Starmer said he would've resigned if found


And let me show you some of the other key stories making international headlines at this hour.

Outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov has failed to secure a new parliamentary majority. He now has two more attempts to form the

government. All of the Balkan nation may face its fourth general election in less than two. Petkov's government was toppled last month in a no-

confidence vote.

In Saudi Arabia, about 1 million Muslims have gathered at Mt. Arafat for the most important day of the annual Haj pilgrimage. The sunrise visual is

a time to pray for peace and atone the sins. Pilgrims will then gather different pebbles a ritual symbolizing the start of Id, which begins on


And former Angolan President Jose Eduardo Santos has died. He was 79 years old. His almost four decades in office was one of the longest running

presidencies in the world. Critics say nepotism even as the country is so strong economic growth.

Now in return to our top story this hour. The assassination of Japan's one former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent shockwaves right around the

world. Heads of state are praising Abe for leading a life in service of others.

Taiwan's landmark tower, Taipei 101, is paying tribute to Shinzo Abe as you can see. Thank you, Prime Minister Abe, for your support and friendship to


CNN's Will Ripley is in Taipei and gives us a look at the economic, as well as diplomatic legacy Shinzo Abe leaves behind.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Japan's longest serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, had big dreams of a Japanese

comeback. A comeback marred by a series of setbacks.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Abe's greatest achievement. Japan spent billions, only to see the games postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. The games were a

cornerstone of Abe's plans to survive a struggling economy, and transform Japan to a global destination.

Abe promised a brighter future, a future looking bleak after 2011's massive earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Abenomics was an

ambitious plan to overhaul Japan's economy with stimulus and reform. It led to a record high government debt, failed to make a lasting dent in decades

of deflation. Problems made worse by Japan's aging population and shrinking workforce.

Abe also tried to strengthen Japan's military, reinterpreting the nation's pacifist constitution, drafted after World War II.


The move led to massive protests in the Japanese capital.

Abe's visits to a controversial war shrine angered his Asian neighbors. He was criticized for not making a new apology in the 75th anniversary of

World War II, accused of trying to rewrite Japan's brutal wartime past.

Abe began fighting for more military power during his first time as prime minister in 2006. At 52, he became Japan youngest post world leader.

Corruption scandals within his party caused Abe's popularity to plummet. He resigned a year later, blaming health problems.

Abe had ambition and roots in a powerful political dynasty, two former prime ministers in his family. Reelected in 2012, Abe declared Japan is

back. He tried to raise Japan's profile on a global stage, developing allies and in Europe, India, and Southeast Asia, trying to mend frosty

relations with China.

Abe made history in 2016, appearing alongside former U.S. President Barack Obama in Hiroshima and later, Pearl Harbor.

Abe was one of the first world leaders to form an alliance with Donald Trump, taken the U.S. president out for a hamburger in Tokyo.

Shinzo Abe leaves behind Akie, known as a vibrant and popular first lady, and his wife, of more than three decades.


SOARES: Truly transformational, but also towering figure all around the world. That was Will Ripley reporting for us from Taipei, Taiwan.

And that was your GLOBAL BRIEF. Thank you very much for your company. I'm Isa Soares in London.

"WORLD SPORT" is up next. Have a wonderful weekend. See you next week. Bye- bye.