Japanese man ‘sets himself on fire’ to protest Shinzo Abe state funeral | CNN


Tokyo, Japan

A Japanese man in his 70s has been taken to hospital in Tokyo after setting himself on fire near the prime minister’s office, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said.

“I have heard that the police found a man who suffered burns near the cabinet before 7 a.m. this morning and I am aware that the police are investigating,” Japanese chief of staff Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Wednesday.

The man told police he opposed plans to hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this month, CNN affiliate TV Asahi reported.

Police are now collecting evidence from security cameras and eyewitnesses, TV Asahi said, adding that an officer who tried to put out the fire was injured and taken to hospital.

Shinzo Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, holding this position from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020 before stepping down due to health reasons.

He died in July at the age of 67 from excessive bleeding after being shot during a public campaign speech.

News of his murder reverberated around the world and huge crowds gathered on the streets of Tokyo to pay their respects.

The Japanese government has announced it will hold a state funeral for Abe on September 27, with the ceremony expected to cost up to $12 million due to high security and reception costs to host foreign dignitaries.

Opposition to that step is growing. Some protesters resent what they see as an exorbitant use of public funds for the event, while others point to Abe’s occasional divisive politics.

State funerals in Japan are usually reserved for members of the Imperial family, although the honor was also awarded to former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida in 1967.

Despite his victories at the polls, Abe was no stranger to controversy. He was involved in several scandals during his career and caused controversy with visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which contains the names of convicted war criminals and is considered by China, North Korea and South Korea as a symbol of the Imperial military past of the United States. Japan.

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