SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A letter of condolence is on its way from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno to the mayor of Takikawa, Japan-expressing deep regret over the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Over the years, Mayor Sarno has maintained ties with Springfield’s Japanese sister city, a relationship began in the 1980s during Judge Mary Hurley’s administration when Mayor Sarno was first entering public life.

Takikawa leaders have paid more than one visit to Springfield City Hall.

Mayor Sarno told 22News, “I just want to send a letter of sympathy to Mayor Medina of the city of Takikawa to express myself and the city of Springfield’s sympathy, my thoughts and prayers, and encouragement.”

Mayor Sarno described the late Japanese Prime Minister as one of the key leaders responsible for the firm relationship the United States now enjoys with the Japanese people.