Funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe kicks off at Tokyo Buddhist temple

A man prays at an altar in front of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headquarters following the assassination of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. – Rodrigo Reyes Marin/ZUMA Press W / DPA

The funeral of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated on Friday after being shot during a campaign rally in the city of Nara, took place on Tuesday at a Buddhist temple in the capital, Tokyo, with a limited number of participants, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, several parliamentarians and members of his family.

The event was held at Zojoji temple in the Japanese capital, where hundreds of people came to present floral offerings in honor of Abe, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo. Also, wreaths were laid at Abe’s office in his constituency, Shimonoseki, as well as at Seikei University in Tokyo, where he studied.

After the funeral, the body of the former prime minister, who became the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history, will be moved to his office and other key Japanese political venues for other events, as reported by Japanese television channel NHK.

During the day on Monday, about 2,500 people came to the same temple to participate in the wake, according to the faction of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Abe. Among them were U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin.

Abe was shot Friday during a campaign rally. The self-confessed killer, arrested at the scene of the crime, had accused the politician of promoting a religious group that ended up ruining his mother because of the excessive donations she gave them, according to sources close to the investigation.

The accused has pointed out, according to the same sources, that at no time did he attack Abe for his political beliefs, contrary to initial reports that the former prime minister was killed by an individual opposed to his conservative and nationalist ideas.

For his part, the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, Satoshi Ninoyu, has ordered the police to set up a committee to investigate possible security failures during the incident and stressed that senior police officials have admitted that the security deployment was inadequate, including problems during the escort and guarding process.

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