TOKYO: Family and friends of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gathered at a Tokyo temple on Tuesday for a private meeting funeralas mourners outside condemned the leader’s ‘despicable’ killing.
Abe was shot dead at point-blank range as he gave a campaign speech in the city of Nara on Friday, days before upper house elections that saw his ruling party tighten its grip on power.
Murder suspect, 41 Tetsuya Yamagamiis in custody and told police he was targeting Abe because he believed the politician was linked to an organization that had a grudge against him.
Although funeral rites are reserved for family members and close associates, long lines of people, some dressed in black, came to Zojoji Temple to pay their respects. Japanis the longest-serving prime minister.
“I can’t get over my sadness, so I came here to lay flowers and say a prayer,” consultant Tsukasa Yokawa, 41, told AFP, describing Abe as “a great prime minister who has done a lot to elevate Japan’s presence”. the world stage.
“It’s despicable,” said Yuko Takehisa, a 51-year-old nursing assistant who lives in Kanagawa, near Tokyo.
‘More could have been done to prevent it,’ she said, complaining that ‘nobody reported’ Yamagami to the police despite reports that he tested a homemade firearm before the attack. .
Satoshi Ninoyu, chairman of the National Public Security Commission, a cabinet post overseeing the national police, pledged on Tuesday to conduct a full review of any security breaches.
Local police have already admitted flaws in their custody program for the high-profile politician, who was approached from behind and shot dead in broad daylight.
Police searches of the suspect’s home found pellets and other possible components for making a firearm as the raw weapon used in the attack, Japanese media reported on Tuesday, citing sources. anonymous survey.
Yamagami spent three years in the Japanese Navy and reportedly told investigators that his mother’s large donations to a religious organization caused financial problems for the family.
The Unification Church, a global religious movement founded in Korea in the 1950s, said Monday that Yamagami’s mother was a member, but did not comment on any donations she may have made.
Abe’s murder caused shock and outrage in Japan and around the world, as well as an outpouring of messages of condolence.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Tuesday that more than 1,700 condolence messages had been received from 259 countries, territories and international bodies.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unscheduled stop in Tokyo to pay tribute to Abe, describing him as a “man of vision”.
And Taiwanese Vice President William Lai was also in Tokyo for a surprise trip, Taiwanese media reported.
The visit has the potential to anger Beijing, although Hayashi said Lai was traveling in a private capacity and there was no change in Japan’s policy on non-governmental relations work with Taiwan.
After Tuesday’s funeral, Abe’s body will be taken past some of Tokyo’s political landmarks, including the prime minister’s residence – known as Kantei – and the country’s parliament, the Diet.
Public commemorations are expected to take place at a later date, with suggestions that senior foreign political leaders may attend, but no details have yet been announced.
Abe was the scion of a political family and became the country’s youngest post-war prime minister when he first took office in 2006, aged 52.
He resigned in 2020 at the end of his second stint after suffering health issues.
His warmongering and nationalist views were divisive, particularly his desire to reform the pacifist constitution, and he weathered a series of scandals, including allegations of cronyism.
But he has been hailed by others for his economic strategy, dubbed “Abenomics”, and his efforts to put Japan firmly on the world stage, including cultivating close ties with former US President Donald Trump.

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