Japan prepares to bid farewell to slain Abe in controversial state funeral

By Elaine’s lies

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will honor slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, the longest-serving leader to dominate modern politics, with a rare state funeral as divisive as he was.

Abe The killings at a campaign rally on July 8 have shed light on the relationship between lawmakers from the once-rival Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Unification Church, which critics call a cult.

With his support level dragged to a rock bottom in the debate, Kishida apologized and promised to end the party’s ties to the church.

But opposition to Abiy’s state funeral, the first such event since 1967, continues, costing $11.5 million to cover the economic suffering of ordinary citizens.

“I don’t think this funeral should be held,” said 38-year-old assistant film director Hidemi Noto, who stood by to watch the ceremony at the Nippon Budokan Hall on Monday.

“For ordinary people, a funeral has a completely different meaning. I don’t think we should use tax money for that.”

However, on Tuesday morning, a few hundred ordinary citizens lined the streets outside the venue to offer flowers at designated stands.

About 4,300 people and at least 48 current or former government officials are expected to attend Tuesday’s ceremony, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The only Group of Seven leader, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was withdrawn to deal with natural disasters at home.

The ceremony will begin at 2:00 pm (0500 GMT) when Abe’s ashes will enter the venue and a guard of honor will fire 19 rounds of cannon.

Tens of thousands of police are deployed as Japan seeks to avoid security lapses, which police accuse of impoverishing the Unification Church. the family.

Abe’s state funeral was held days after the assassination. It was the first since it happened to former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida in 1967.

Kishida described the decision as celebrating Abe’s achievements and standing up for democracy, but ordinary Japanese are divided, with polls suggesting more than half are against it.

A top official for US President Joe Biden, who traveled to Japan with Harris, told reporters that the Japanese could not comment on the funeral.

“All we can say is that he was a great ally of the United States … and the vice president is here to honor that legacy,” he said on Monday.

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