Ex-PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral held in Tokyo

Pool via REUTERS
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sends his condolences during the state funeral of assassinated former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe Tuesday Sept. 27, 2022, at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s funeral started at 2 p.m. After the national anthem was played and a moment of silence was held, images of Abe from throughout his life were displayed on a large screen inside the hall. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, House of Representatives Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda, House of Councillors President Hidehisa Otsuji and Supreme Court Chief Justice Saburo Tokura gave memorial addresses, and former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made an address on behalf of Abe’s friends.

About 4,300 people attended the funeral, including about 700 people from 218 nations and territories.

Self-Defense Forces personnel formed an honor guard when the hearse carrying Abe’s ashes left his home in Tomigaya in Shibuya Ward. The hearse drove past the Defense Ministry before arriving at the Budokan.

The opening of the flower-laying stands was brought forward by 30 minutes from the originally scheduled 10 a.m. due to the large number of people arriving at the area. The stands stayed open until 5 p.m.

Members of the public paid their respects and bid a final farewell to Shinzo Abe in the hours before his state funeral at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo on Tuesday.

From about 9:30 a.m., many people came to lay flowers at stands that opened at Kudanzaka Koen park, which is near the hall. Entry was restricted to funeral officials and people offering flowers, and traffic restrictions were in place on nearby roads. Many police officers were on duty guarding the area.

Abe was shot dead in Nara on July 8 while giving a campaign speech for an upper house election. Abe is the second postwar prime minister to be given a state funeral, 55 years after the same honor was given to Shigeru Yoshida.