Japanese people began voting Sunday morning in elections to the upper house of parliament, which comes just two days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated at a campaign rally.
The vote is expected to extend the legislative majority of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), to which Abe belonged.
The elections are held in the shadow of the murder, but Japanese politicians have insisted that the event would not stop the electoral process.
“We must never allow violence to suppress expression during elections, which are the foundation of democracy,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said while campaigning across the country.
Kishida personally went to Abe’s family residence in Tokyo, where the former prime minister’s body arrived from a hospital in western Japan on Saturday afternoon.
The killing, which occurred on Friday, shocked both the country and the international community, drawing an outpouring of condolences and condemnation even from nations with which Abe had sometimes rocky relations, such as China and South Korea.
The man accused of her murder, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, is in custody. He has stated to investigators that he targeted Abe because he believed Abe was linked to an unidentified organization.
Local media described the organization as religious and said that Yamagami’s family had been in financial trouble as a result of his mother’s donations.