Photo/Illutration Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks to reporters on July 12. (Ryo Aibara)

The government has received some 1,700 messages of condolences on the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from 259 countries, regions and organizations, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announced on July 12.

“We renewed our resolve to honor Abe’s achievements and continue to do our utmost to address our country’s various diplomatic issues,” Hayashi said at a news conference that day.

The same day, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke separately with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and French President Emmanuel Macron over the phone.

Both leaders expressed their condolences for Abe, who was shot dead while giving an election stump speech in Nara on July 8.

Kishida told the two leaders that he will never succumb to violence and vowed to defend democracy.

Taiwanese Vice President William Lai visited Japan on July 12 to pay his respects to Abe.

“I understand that he is making a private visit to attend the funeral (for Abe),” Hayashi said in an apparent attempt to avoid drawing fire from Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

Japan does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state.

Hayashi stressed that there is no change in Japan’s basic stance that it maintains relations with Taiwan at the non-governmental working level.