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VOA Asia Weekly: Mourning the Sudden Loss of Japan's Longest Serving Prime Minister

VOA Asia Weekly: Mourning the Sudden Loss of Japan's Longest Serving Prime Minister
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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is assassinated. Manila marks six years since tribunal win over Beijing in South China Sea. Sri Lankan President flees amid protests. Sydney Opera House lights up for Abe.

Honoring the lasting impact of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Indo-Pacific. He was killed on the campaign trail last week.

Hello and welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Jessica Stone in Washington. That story is coming up.

But first…

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country on a military jet. Over the weekend, protestors - angered over leaders’ handling of the economy - stormed and occupied his official residence.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met for five hours with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Indonesia. Blinken says he raised concerns over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow and its war in Ukraine. A statement says Yi demanded that Washington cease sanctions against Chinese companies & cancel additional tariffs.

Just weeks into his presidency, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. marked the sixth anniversary of Manila’s win at an international court. The tribunal ruled that China’s territorial claims inside the Philippine waters of the South China Sea - are illegal under international law.

Kiribati withdrew suddenly from the Pacific Island Forum. The island nation’s President said in a letter that the withdrawal is because of a disagreement over terms signed weeks ago, but others fear China's involvement.

Angry Chinese bank depositors clashed with police outside a People’s Bank of China branch in Zhengzhou. This comes after the freezing of deposits by some rural-based banks.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says he’ll continue the mission of slain Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revise Japan’s pacifist Constitution. The ruling conservative coalition expanded its majority in parliament in last weekend’s elections.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was laid to rest this week.

The man accused of assassinating Abe, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, told investigators he believed that the former prime minister was linked to a religious group he blamed for his mother’s financial difficulties. It’s a killing that stunned a nation where political violence is rare. VOA’s Bill Gallo reports from Seoul.

Visit our website for the most up-to-date stories. This is VOA Asia Weekly.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki have agreed to coordinate steps to address rising food and energy prices as well as volatility in currency markets. The ministers say the war in Ukraine’s impact on currency markets could impact economic stability. US interest rate increases have also made it more expensive for companies across Asia to repay their dollar-denominated debt. Yellen maintains that currency intervention should only be used in rare and exceptional circumstances.

Finally on VOA Asia Weekly, solemn tributes across Australia for Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister.

The colors of the Japanese flag lit up the iconic Sydney Opera House just days after Abe died. According to local media, some landmarks across the Australian city of Melbourne also illuminated the night sky with the red and white of Japan’s flag. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wrote he considers Abe the most consequential Japanese leader in half a century.

Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly. I’m Jessica Stone. See you next week.