HomeLatest NewsHundreds of people have demanded the cancellation of the funeral of former...

Hundreds of people have demanded the cancellation of the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The decision to have one for Shinzo Abe was made by the cabinet and did not go through parliamentary approval. Some legal groups have challenged its validity.

The decision to have one for Shinzo Abe was made by the cabinet and did not go through parliamentary approval. Some legal groups have challenged its validity.

Hundreds of protesters chanted and waved banners in a Tokyo park on Friday demanding the cancellation of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state funeral.

“Abe’s policies supported war,” protester Mayumi Ishida said, adding that Abe had consistently sought to increase defense spending. Like others at the protest, Mr. Ishida said he feared Abe’s views were a step back to Japan’s days of militarism before World War II.

Abe, who was assassinated in July, was Japan’s longest-serving leader and one of its most divisive in the postwar period because of his revisionist view of wartime history, support for a strong military and what critics call authoritarianism and cronyism.

Opposition to state funerals has also increased due to politicians’ close ties to the Unification Church. Social media posts attributed to the suspect in Abe’s murder show he blames the church for ruining his life, and police say he targeted Abe for his links to the organization.

Official plans for his state funeral on Tuesday have sparked public opposition to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan for most of the post-war period.

Protests and marches opposing state funerals have spread across the country, drawing hundreds of people. Earlier this week, a man set himself on fire near the prime minister’s residence in what was described as a suicide attempt in apparent protest at the funeral.

Yoshiko Kamata, a part-time worker at a convenience store, admitted the state funeral could not be stopped, but it was a good chance to drive home the message that Abe never stood up to regular people.

“We want to show where we stand,” he said, referring to dictators being invited to state funerals. “We’re not going to forgive Abe just because he’s dead.”

State funerals in Japan have historically been reserved for the emperor. The decision to have one for Abe was made by the cabinet and did not go through parliamentary approval. Some legal groups have challenged its validity.

The official public tab for funerals is about 1.7 billion yen ($12 million), but experts say hidden costs like security add to the total. Police were deployed at Friday’s protest. Some politicians announced they would skip the funeral, including ruling party lawmaker Seiichiro Murakami, a former minister, who said it had failed to garner public support.

Coincidentally, Abe’s state funeral has drawn considerable comparisons to Queen Elizabeth II’s recent state funeral in Britain.

Graduate student Daiki Kikuchi, watching the Queen’s funeral while sipping beer in a British pub in Tokyo, couldn’t help but draw a contrast. “I feel British culture watching it, and there’s a royal family that people love,” he said. But he is not a king.

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