On Tuesday, Japan will perform a formal burial for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot with an improvised firearm at an election rally in July, just days before the national election.
Thousands of people waited up at a mourning tent in Kudanzaka park near the venue of the ceremony, the Budokan auditorium, to offer flowers and prayers in Abe's honor.
Tens of thousands of police officers have been deployed, and adjacent highways and schools have been shuttered for the day.
Approximately 4,300 people are anticipated to attend the main event, which began when Akie Abe, Abe's widow, entered the hall while carrying an urn containing her husband's ashes. Government, parliamentary, and judicial representatives, including the current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Akie Abe, will deliver sympathy remarks.
Kamala Harris present, Justin Trudeau had to cancel
Kishida met with approximately ten dignitaries on Monday, including Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Vice President of the Philippines Sara Duterte.
Kishida will meet individually with Narendra Modi of India and Anthony Albanese of Australia, who are also in attendance.
Former German President Christian Wulff and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attended the funeral. The former prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Italy were Theresa May and Matteo Renzi, respectively.
Kishida was the only other G7 leader set to attend, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to cancel due to Hurricane Fiona.
In discussions with Kishida, Harris emphasized the significance of US-Japan relations in Asia and the wider globe.
The vice president stated at Akasaka Palace, "The alliance between Japan and the United States is a cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,"
Kishida stated that Abe had "poured his heart and soul" into developing ties between their two nations, and that "I feel it is my duty to carry on his aspirations."
Who was Shinzo Abe?
Shinzo Abe, who was born in 1954, served as Japan's longest-serving prime minister. He served as the nation's leader twice, for exactly one year beginning in September 2006 and again from December 2012 to September 2020.
At an election rally on July 8, this year, he was fatally shot by a guy using an improvised handgun – Japan's firearms restrictions are among the tightest on the planet. His death horrified a society unused to gun violence, leading to the resignation of the police head.
Abe was a divisive figure at home, not least because he viewed himself as a reformer whose mission was to steer Japan away from long-standing policies and customs that he no longer believed to be beneficial.
Abenomics was an attempt to reverse years of economic stagnation in Japan. After decades of pacifist policy following World War II, he also advocated for greater connections with the United States and gradual rearmament in Japan. Critics asserted that his approach toward Japan's colonial past harmed relations with China and Korea, as he was a staunch conservative who occasionally questioned historical claims of wrongdoing.
Protests oppose the idea to hold a state funeral as Kishida struggles
Opponents of the state-sponsored burial, which is only the second of its kind in Japan since World War II for a politician, have planned rallies in other parts of Tokyo and the country. They say that the money would be better spent on more worthwhile causes, such as reducing the economic inequities attributed to Abe's policies some.
Other criticism has focused on Abe's former leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the controversial Unification Church. According to the authorities, Abe's murderer claimed that the Unification Church stole his family's savings. This link has sparked more examination into the connections between the party and the church.
The decision by Kishida to arrange a state funeral was implemented without parliamentary permission. After a murder on the campaign trail, Kishida claimed it was a way to celebrate the accomplishments of Japan's longest-serving prime leader and defend democracy. A recent survey conducted by TV Asahi in Japan, however, indicated that fewer people supported the decision than opposed it.