New Telegraph

December 10, 2023

JUST IN: Protests as Japan prepares to honour slain ex-PM, Abe


Several thousand protesters are gathering ahead of a state funeral for Japan’s slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Leaders from around the world are also gathering in Tokyo for the event, reports the BBC.

The 67-year-old politician, Japan’s longest-serving PM, was gunned down at an election rally in July.

The new alliances he forged to respond to China’s growing power came alongside big and unpopular changes to Japan’s pacifist constitution.

Some 20,000 police officers are reportedly being deployed for Tuesday’s event – security is exceptionally tight given that police admitted to flaws in the protection provided to Abe in July.

But the event – which is estimated to cost taxpayers $1.65bn yen ($11.5m; £10.7m) – faces a huge backlash in Japan, a sign of Abe’s complicated legacy.

Meanwhile, the state funeral has begun. Thousands are seated in the arena. A military band has begun playing a dirge as the senior Japanese dignitaries walked in.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has received the ashes, which appear to be contained in a ceremonial box.

He then formally handed it to military officers who placed the box in the centre of the altar, set up at the front of the room.

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