When Shinzo Abe addressed a joint sitting of Australia's parliament exactly eight years before he was shot and killed, he spoke of Japan and Australia working together in a relationship of trust that had come through the trials of history.
"Let us join together all the more in order to make the vast seas from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean, and those skies, open and free," Mr Abe said in 2014.
"In everything we say and do, we must follow the law and never fall back onto force or coercion. When there are disputes, we must always use peaceful means to find solutions. These are natural rules.
"I believe strongly that when Japan and Australia, sharing common values, join hands, these natural rules will become the norm for the seas of prosperity that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian."
Mr Abe's assassination in Nara - Canberra's sister city - has come as a global shock, an awful reminder that violence too often mars peaceful political processes.
In the middle of a speech as part of campaigning for local elections, Mr Abe - who resigned as Japan's prime minister in 2020 - was shot from behind.
That this would happen in Japan - a country with a noted record for safety and appropriately tight restrictions on guns - and that it would happen to such a world-renowned statesman is, in many ways, unfathomable.
It is a horrible reminder how fragile, and precious, democracy can be, and what high price can be paid by those who dedicate themselves to public life.
The assassination of Mr Abe was a cowardly and cruel act of malice and it must be condemned as strongly as possible. Acts like this have no role in a mature democracy.
Australia's Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, paid tribute to one of "Australia's closest friends on the world stage", who had championed a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Mr Abe's work to develop and deepen close ties with Australia is a testament to the power of careful and considered diplomacy.
The relationship between Japan and Australia is long-standing and it was only enhanced by Mr Abe's work to develop and ratify the bilateral economic partnership agreement in 2014.
Mr Albanese said on Saturday Australia would honour Mr Abe, who died at the hand of an "act of extreme cowardice", by working harder towards a peaceful and prosperous region.
An Indo-Pacific region more committed than ever to ensuring it remains free and prosperous, and where the tools of diplomacy are always the first option leaders reach for in times of conflict, would be a suitable legacy for a world leader of Mr Abe's calibre and renown.
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