Tokyo: On Tuesday, mourners lined up on the streets of central Tokyo to say goodbye to the assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His hearse passed a political landmark after a private funeral. The country’s longest-serving prime minister was shot on Friday during the campaign. And a crime that rattled Japan and encouraged international criticism and sorrow.
His funeral was held on Tuesday at Zoujoji Temple in Tokyo, attended by relatives and close acquaintances. But elsewhere on the temple grounds, thousands of well-meaning people lined up in honor in the humid heat, in front of a photo of the late leader who took office until 2020. Consultant Tsukasa Yokokawa, 41, told AFP that Prime Minister Abe is “a great prime minister who has done a lot to increase Japan’s presence.”
After service, the hearse carrying Abe’s body set out for the final tour of some of the political landmarks he served: Congress, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the headquarters of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Residents gathered along the route, and staff and staff, including ministers and LDP executives, stood secretly outside each venue. When the car arrived, they pushed their hands together and bowed in honor.
Akie Abe sat in front of a hearse and crouched down with a Dharma name engraved with her husband’s posthumous legal name. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi called the murder a “terrorist act” on Tuesday. “I lost my brother. At the same time, Japan lost its irreplaceable leader,” he tweeted. “My brother loved Japan, endangered his life, became a politician, and protected this country.”
In a funeral speech, 81-year-old Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso remembered drinking and playing golf with his close allies. He said, “You were supposed to read Eulogy for me. According to the Japanese media, this is very painful.” When Abe was shot dead, he was campaigning in a city in the western part of Nara. Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old murderer, was detained and told police that he had targeted Abe because politicians believed he had something to do with the resentful organization.
Yamagami approached him from behind in the middle of the day, questioning security. Chairman Satoshi Ninoyu, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and a minister overseeing the National Police, promised to fully consider security failures on Tuesday. Local police have already acknowledged the flaws in their security program for prominent politicians.
Police searched the suspect’s house and found pellets and other possible parts to make the fire-like guns used in the attack, Japanese media reported Tuesday. Mr Yamagami reportedly spent three years in the Japanese Navy and told investigators that his mother’s large donations to religious groups caused financial problems for his family. The Unification Church, a global religious movement founded in South Korea in the 1950s, said on Monday that Yamagami’s mother was a member, but did not comment on any donations she might have made.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Tuesday that he received more than 1,700 condolence messages from 259 countries, regions and international organizations. On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in honor of Prime Minister Abe, stopped by a previously unplanned Tokyo and described him as a “sighted person.” According to Taiwanese media, Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te was also in Tokyo for a surprise trip.
China’s Foreign Ministry has attacked the visit, accusing Taiwanese authorities of using Prime Minister Abe’s death as an “opportunity for political manipulation.” However, Mr. Hayashi said Mr. Lai was traveling in a private position and that Japan’s policy on non-governmental cooperation with Taiwan had not changed. A public monument to Prime Minister Abe (67) will be held at a later date. – AFP