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Japan holds state funeral for assassinated ex-PM Shinzo Abe

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been laid to rest in an elaborate state funeral amid anti-funeral protests.

• September 27, 2022

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been laid to rest in an elaborate state funeral amid anti-funeral protests. 

Mr Abe’s funeral on Tuesday is Japan’s first state funeral since 1967.

On Tuesday, over 4,300 guests attended the service at the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo, including foreign dignitaries such as United States Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The event began at 2:00 p.m. local time (05:00 GMT) with Japan’s Self-Defence Forces firing 19 shots in honour of Mr Abe as his wife, Akie Abe, carried his ashes into Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan hall. 

The government played a video tribute honouring his life and career. 

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida then delivered a memorial address, praising Mr Abe’s “courage” and dedication.

Security was tightened for the event, with schools near the funeral venue closed and some 20,000 police officials mobilised to ensure safety for the event.

Mr Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. He was shot dead during a campaign speech in Nara in July in the run-up to elections for the upper house of parliament.

The suspect in the shooting, Tetsuya Yamagami, told police he had targeted Mr Abe because he had expressed support for the Unification Church, which he blamed for bankrupting his family.

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