Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state funeral, scheduled for September 27, will have around 6,400 guests, sources familiar with the matter said. The Sankei Shimbun.
Japan’s longest-serving post-war prime minister is to hold a state funeral at the Nippon Budokan in Kudanshita, Tokyo.
The previous prime minister who was honored with a state funeral was Shigeru Yoshida in 1967. About 6,000 attendees attended the memorial event, including family members, members of the National Diet, local politicians and foreign dignitaries. Abe’s funeral is expected to follow a similar pattern.
Yoshida led Japan with five cabinets for most of the years between 1946 and 1954. His tenure included leading Japan through a particularly turbulent period of post-war negotiations and on the road to economic recovery.
Abe died on July 8 after being shot in Nara by the disgruntled son of a Unification Church member. The incident shocked Japan and the world, as it took place in a country known for its strict gun control laws.
Shinzo Abe is credited with being the brainchild of the “free and open Indo-Pacific” and the driving force behind the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (with India, Australia and the United States), and a man visionary state both at home and abroad.
Given Abe’s stature on the world stage, guests are expected to include French President Emmanuel Macron, former United States President Barack Obama and current Vice President Kamala Harris. To give a reference, at Yoshida’s funeral, dignitaries and representatives from more than 70 countries attended.
Meanwhile, Japan is grappling with the highest level of COVID-19 infections on record since the start of the pandemic. Therefore, it is expected that norms such as masking and social distancing will be put in place.
Say goodbye to Shinzo Abe online
As Abe’s state funeral approaches, there are also initiatives for the general public, in Japan and around the world, to pay their respects to the former prime minister.
A group of venture capitalists came up with the idea of creating an online platform to offer flowers and condolences, according to a Sankei Shimbun report.
The platform will be online from August 25 to September 27, the day of the funeral. Giving flowers is free through this service, and it will also be possible to include messages of condolence for Mr Abe.
The initiative’s organizers plan to forward some of the messages to Abe’s widow, Akie.
Author: Arielle Busetto