Man sets himself on fire in Tokyo in apparent protest against state funeral planned for former leader Shinzo Abe

Earlier on Wednesday, a man set himself on fire near Japan’s prime minister’s office in Tokyo, officials and media reports said, in apparent protest against a planned state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe next week.

The man, believed to be in his 70s with burns to most of his body but was conscious, told police he set himself on fire after pouring oil on himself, Kyodo news agency reported.

A note apparently written by the man was found on him, Kyodo news agency reported, saying “personally, I am absolutely against” Abe’s funeral.

A man who protested the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set himself on fire, police investigate
Police and firefighters investigate the scene of a man who set himself on fire near the official residence of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Japan, September 21, 2022. Commonwealth.

via Reuters’ Kyodo News

Tokyo Fire Department officials confirmed a man who set himself on fire in the streets of Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki government district was alive when he was taken to hospital by ambulance, but declined to provide further details, including the man’s identity, motive or situation. Citing the sensitivity of police affairs.

Tokyo police declined to comment, including on reports that a police officer was arrested in the fire.

The suspected self-immolation underscores a growing wave of protests over the funeral of Abe, one of the most divisive leaders in postwar Japanese politics because of his revisionist views on wartime history, security policy and his coercive tactics and cronyism Often criticized as authoritarian. More protests are expected in the coming days, including on the day of the funeral next week.

The incident has also embarrassed Japanese police, who have stepped up security and are expected to be attended by about 6,000 people, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and other dignitaries.

Japanese police also Blame in part on insufficient protection for AbeIn July, he was shot and killed by a gunman who approached him from behind while giving a campaign speech outdoors.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in New York for the annual meeting of world leaders of the United Nations General Assembly. Speaking on Tuesday, he expressed disappointment at the Security Council’s failure to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of Russia’s permanent veto, and called for reforms that would enable the United Nations to better defend global peace and order.

Abe’s planned state funeral has become increasingly unpopular among Japanese as more details emerge from the ruling party and Abe’s relationship with the Unification Church, which has forged with LDP lawmakers over their shared interests in conservative causes close relationship.

The suspect in Abe’s assassination reportedly believed his mother’s donation to the church had ruined his family. The Liberal Democratic Party has said nearly half of its MPs have ties to the church, but party officials have denied the party as an organization has ties to the church.

Kishida said Abe, as Japan’s longest-reigning post-World War II leader and his diplomatic and economic achievements, deserves a state funeral.

Critics say it was an undemocratic decision, an inappropriate and costly use of taxpayer funds. They said Kishida’s decision to hold a state funeral was aimed at pleasing Abe’s party and supporting his own power. Support for the Kishida government has dipped amid public dissatisfaction with his handling of the party’s church relations and funeral plans.

Abe’s family funeral was held at a Buddhist temple in July. The state funeral is scheduled for next Tuesday at the Budokan Martial Arts Hall in Tokyo.

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