Thousands of Japanese pay their respects to Shinzo Abe on the day of his funeral

Thousands of Japanese pay their respects to Shinzo Abe on the day of his funeral

“I’m shocked and angry. I can’t get over my sadness, so I came to lay flowers and pray,” Tsukasa Yokawa, 41, told AFP. “I really respected him. He was a great prime minister who did a lot to increase Japan’s presence in the world.” Public tributes were to be held at a later date in Tokyo and the southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture, where Mr. Abe was one of the deputies in parliament.

After the ceremony, the funeral procession left the temple to pass political institutions where Mr. Abe officiated during his career: Parliament, the office of the Prime Minister and the headquarters of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD, nationalist right ) in power. In front of each building, ministers, officials and employees bowed with folded hands as the hearse passed. Sitting in the front of the black vehicle, Mrs. Abe held in front of her the wooden tablet on which was inscribed the posthumous name of her husband according to Buddhist tradition.

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Have : The terrible images of the assassination of Shinzo Abe

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posthumous decoration

More than 2,000 people had already participated in a funeral wake at the same temple on Monday, including Mr. Kishida, a representative of Emperor Naruhito, figures from the Japanese political and economic world and foreign diplomats. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, currently traveling in Asia, was present at the wake on Monday, and Taiwan’s vice president made a private visit to Tokyo for the occasion.

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Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also announced on Tuesday that more than 1,700 condolence messages had been received in total from 259 countries, territories and international organizations. According to local media, Mr. Abe will posthumously receive the Grand Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, the most prestigious decoration in the Archipelago. He had been attacked with a firearm on Friday while taking part in an electoral rally in Nara (western Japan) for the senatorial elections on Sunday, at the end of which the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD, nationalist right in power), to which Mr. Abe belonged, won a comfortable victory.

Moon sect

Tetsuya Yamagami, his alleged killer and immediately arrested after the attack, is a former member of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Japanese Navy. According to police sources quoted by local media, the 41-year-old man watched videos on YouTube showing how to make a homemade firearm like the one used in the attack. The suspect said he deliberately targeted Mr Abe because he was angry at an organization he thought he was affiliated with.

Japanese media quickly claimed that it was a religious organization to which Ms. Yamagami’s mother would have made large donations, putting their family in great financial difficulty. The Unification Church, a cult of South Korean origin also known as the “Moon sect”, confirmed at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday that the suspect’s mother was among its followers but assured that Mr. Abe was neither a member nor an adviser of the organization.

Mr. Abe held the record for longevity as Prime Minister of Japan, which he held in 2006-2007, then again from the end of 2012 to the summer of 2020. Both nationalist and pragmatic, he made an impression with its audacious economic policy dubbed “Abenomics”, combining massive budgetary stimulus with an ultra-accommodative monetary policy, for a contrasting picture however. He also advocated a Japan free from its militaristic past and dreamed of revising the pacifist Japanese Constitution of 1947, written by the American occupiers and never amended since. He had been forced to resign for health reasons, but had remained very influential within the PLD which he had led for a long time.