Japan honors Shinzo Abe with contentious state funeral
(MENAFN) Japan said goodbye to slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a rare public funeral that split the country.
Some 4,000 mourners attended Tuesday's ceremony for Abe, who was gunned down on July 8 while delivering a campaign speech in the western city of Nara. They included Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan's Crown Prince Akishino, and US Vice President Kamala Harris.
At 2 p.m. (05:00 GMT), the Japan Self-Defense Forces fired 19 shots in honor of Japan's longest-serving prime minister, as his wife, Akie Abe, carried his ashes into Tokyo's Nippon Budokan auditorium.
The national song was performed, then soldiers in white uniforms took Abe's ashes and deposited them on a pedestal covered with yellow and white chrysanthemum flowers. Attendees shared a minute of silence in memory of Abe.
Thousands of Japanese citizens waited outside at a neighboring park to pay flower condolences to the dead lawmaker. Some people said they waited for up to three hours.
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