Japan to hold state funeral for Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe funeral
Japan will hold a state funeral for late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today - Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP/Getty Images
Shinzo Abe funeral
Japan will hold a state funeral for late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today – Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP/Getty Images

The state funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held in Tokyo today. Abe was shot dead at an election rally for his party—the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)—at age 67 on July 8. Unusually for a deceased PM, the government will bear the full cost of the funeral. Critics have condemned the LDP’s use of tax money and accused it of exploiting the event for political gain.

Abe was Japan’s longest-serving PM until stepping down in August 2020 due to ill health. Still, he remained an important figure in the LDP’s background until his passing and leaves a lasting legacy. Abe’s tenure reshaped Japan’s foreign policy by aligning the country closer with its Western allies, championing the international rules-based order and challenging China’s assertiveness. Abe never realized his ultimate goal of revising Japan’s pacifist constitution, but his successors may eventually.

Incumbent PM Fumio Kishida will likely take advantage of the funeral to bolster his own standing internationally. Over 4,000 people are expected to attend, including over 200 foreign delegations featuring U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Australian PM Anthony Albanese, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and the leaders of around 50 more countries.

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