Archery mourns shocking loss of Japanese federation president Shinzo Abe

Abe Shinzo courtesy Satoshi Suga/Nikkan Sports.

The international archery community is mourning the loss of Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan and president of the Japanese archery federation, following his death at the age of 67 on Friday 8 July 2022.

He was fatally attacked while giving a speech during a political event in the southern city of Nara.

Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, having held the post from 2006 to 2007 and then from 2012 to 2020, he was president of the All-Japan Archery Federation since April 2005.

“We are devastated and appalled by the awful news from Japan,” said World Archery President Prof Dr Ugur Erdener.

“Former prime minister Abe was an excellent politician, leader and staunch supporter of our sport. The successful Olympic Games in Tokyo, held under the most challenging of conditions, will stand as his legacy.”

“Our thoughts are with the people of Japan, his family, friends and the nation’s archery community, for whom Shinzo Abe has been such a pivotal figure and valued member for so long.”

Shinzo Abe joined the archery club at Seikei University while studying for his bachelor’s degree and credited the sport with developing his “powers of concentration” and giving him “the mental strength not to bow to pressure”.

“I will never forget the exhilaration of aiming and hitting the 10,” he told Nikkan Sports in October 2020. “I didn’t do that much in my case.”

While his competitive days were left behind, Shinzo Abe remained active in archery as an administrator and, during the process of Japan organising the Olympic and Paralympic Games, talked glowingly about the sport.

“The venue in Tokyo at Yumenoshima Park, dream island, stands as legacy for archery because Shinzo Abe insisted there would be a legacy for his sport in the centre of the city,” said World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen.

“Unfortunately due to pandemic restrictions, he could never visit during the Games themselves. The medals won there by the Japanese team were his best reward.”

Yuko Okura, who was sports manager for archery at Tokyo 2020 and is World Archery’s technical delegate for Paris 2024, added her condolences.

“I am just so appreciative of what he has done for our sport,” she said. “And hope he rests in peace.”

Header image courtesy Satoshi Suga/Nikkan Sports.

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