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Japan fires former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at controversial state funeral

Strong protests against the ceremony, financed with public funds. Police mobilization and roads closed.

Japan dismisses the former prime minister on Tuesday Shinzo Abe at a controversial state funeral, an act for one of the country’s most controversial leaders who has divided public opinion, who was assassinated on July 8 while giving a campaign speech in the city of Nara.

Nara was buried after a private funeral in a Tokyo temple, but the current prime minister, fumio kishidaassured that the president who had served the longest in postwar Japan deserved a state funeral.

However, the decision to stage the unusual event, whose roots go back to imperial ceremonies, coupled with the cost of staging it and controversy over Abe’s ties to the ultra-conservative Unification Church, fueled unrest around the event.

Before the organization of protests against the funeral in the capital and in other parts of the country, Tokyo entered a state of maximum security and reinforced police operations.

The state funeral of Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko.

Thousands of plainclothes policemen mobilized this Tuesday in the vicinity of the Budokan room, where the funeral was taking place, as well as in the main train stations. Out of an abundance of caution, roads around the venue will be closed throughout the day.

For its part, from the government they assured that the funeral does not have the objective of forcing anyone to honor Abe. The main opposition parties did not attend to the act, which critics say is reminiscent of how prewar imperialist governments used state funerals to stoke nationalism.

In what some saw as an attempt to justify the tribute, Kishida held meetings this week with foreign officials in what he described as “funeral diplomacy.” The talks are intended to deepen ties at a time of regional and global challenges for Japan. such as threats from China, Russia and North Korea.

Demonstrations against the state funeral of Shinzo Abe

Hundreds of Japanese mobilized this Tuesday in a central Tokyo park to protest against the celebration of Shinzo Abe’s state funeral and to ask that it “stop immediately”.

The protesters who gathered in Hibiya Park, before continuing the march to the funeral site, the iconic Nippon Budokan pavilion, carried banners saying they asked that the event be stopped and that they criticized the figure of Abe as a politician.

Protests against Shinzo Abe's funeral.  EFE//KIMIMASA MAYAMA.

Protests against Shinzo Abe’s funeral. EFE//KIMIMASA MAYAMA.

“I am against the state funeral of anyone, because it is a violation of democracy,” said Shimasaki Kobae, a retiree who attended the rally and said Abe is responsible for “destroying democracy” in the Asian country.

“Personally, I don’t think Abe is worthy of having a funeral. Even if he was a good person, I don’t think it should be done,” said Etsuko Takabatake, a retired woman, who shares the view of other Japanese that this kind of event should not be financed with public money.

Protests against Shinzo Abe's funeral.  (AP/Christopher Jue)

Protests against Shinzo Abe’s funeral. (AP/Christopher Jue)

Among the protesters’ banners, some stood out in which Abe’s photo was superimposed on that of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the former prime minister was criticized for his militaristic policy or for having lied about his connection with the controversial Church of the Unification.

With information from EFE and AP.


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