Prime Minister Hun Sen has set July 10 as a national day of mourning in honour of former Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in broad daylight while making a political speech on July 8.

In a special audio message delivered after 3am on July 9, Hun Sen said that, to share in the sorrow with the Japanese people, government and royal family, “I’ve decided to allow Cambodians nationwide – in the public and private sectors – [a day] to mourn, on Sunday, July 10”.

The prime minister instructed all state and private institutions to fly the flag at half-staff to express condolences to and sympathy with the government and people of Japan for the loss of Abe, who Hun Sen praised as a “good friend” of the government and the people of Cambodia.

Hun Sen also told the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals to issue further instructions concerning the national day of mourning.

During his two stints in office – from 2006-2007 and from 2012-2020 – Abe and his administrations built a strong foundation for ties between the two countries, and the Cambodia-Japan friendship took off, with bilateral relations upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2013, he said.

In his 3,188 days of tenure – the longest of any Japanese prime minister – Japan provided Cambodia with extensive assistance in infrastructure and human-resource building, development programmes, and a wide variety of other ways, he added.

Japan has also been active in ASEAN and Mekong relations, and the bloc regards Japan as a “good partner”, Hun Sen said.

“The legacy of HE Shinzo Abe with the peoples in the Mekong sub-region and ASEAN is a reminder for us all of his humanitarian and honest actions, for which we must offer a gesture of solidarity and regret in light of his death.

“I take this occasion to pray that the soul of HE Shinzo Abe rest in peace.”