Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime, was remembered in Japan on Tuesday with prayers, flowers, and flags adorned with black ribbons. Abe was a divisive figure who dominated politics until being fatally shot at a campaign event last week.
As the funeral carrying Abe, who passed away at the age of 67, left a major Tokyo shrine and proceeded across the city, crowds crowded the sidewalks that were heavily police-lined.
As the funeral passed in a procession televised live by broadcaster NHK, people knelt in prayer and bowed profoundly. Nearly a dozen helicopters were circling above. Others applauded, waved, or shouted.
One guy screamed again, “Thank you very much for your efforts for our nation.
Prior to the private event, hundreds of people paid their condolences at the temple where Abe’s burial was conducted on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. In a country where political violence and gun crime are very uncommon, his assassination on Friday by an unemployed guy brandishing a handmade pistol surprised the public.
A large crowd had gathered in front of the parliament building, which Abe first visited as a young MP in 1993 following the passing of his politician father, in Nagatacho, the political hub of the city.
The office where Abe, who was Japan’s youngest prime minister when he first assumed office, oversaw the country for two terms, the longest of which lasted from 2012 to 2020 before he resigned due to health issues, was where Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and a group of cabinet ministers quietly waited.
Kishida bent his head and wrapped a pair of Buddhist rosary beads around his clasped hands as the hearse slowly past. Akie, Abe’s widow, bowed from the hearse’s front seat.
Outside the temple, large queues of individuals in black clothes and other casual attire with bags began to develop as early as the morning.
One of those who came to give prayers and flowers to a big portrait of Abe placed up within the temple grounds portraying him in a straightforward white shirt, smiling with his hands on his hips, was 58-year-old teacher Keiko Noumi.
When he was the prime minister in command of the nation, she added, “There was a feeling of security.” “This is terribly bad since I genuinely supported him,”
Others lined up in front of the offices of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to lay gifts at a temporary shrine that would stay there until Friday. Workers from the party emerge to bring the sweltering mourning cool barley tea.
International leaders have paid their respects, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stopped briefly on his way to the United States from Southeast Asia on Monday morning. On a personal visit as a family friend, Taiwan Vice President William Lai and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen joined the mourning.
According to Kyodo news agency, about 2,000 sympathy notes came in from across the globe.
Following a visit to the Japanese embassy in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences in a video that was shared on the nation’s official presidential Twitter account.
“I recall all of our interactions and collaborations, particularly during my visit to Japan in 2019… I lost a good buddy, “a mournful Macron stated.
He bravely and audaciously served his nation.
According to Kyodo news agency, quoting investigations, the accused murderer, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who was detained at the site and later recognized by police, thought Abe had pushed a religious organization to which his mother had given a “large gift.”
The suspect’s mother is a member of the Unification Church, which has a loyal following and is renowned for its large weddings. Whether the mother belonged to any other religious groups was unknown to Reuters.