Shinzo Abe: man sets himself alight in protest at state funeral for killed Japan PM

A man has set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister’s office, apparently in protest next week State funeral For former Prime Ministers of the country, Shinzo Abe.

The man was initially knocked unconscious with burns all over his body after the incident on Wednesday morning in Tokyo, less than a week before Abe’s controversial departure. Murder by shooting In July.

Opposition to the Sept. 27 state funeral has grown as Abe’s death exposed the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties to the Unification Church, whose members are colloquially known as the Moonies.

Media reports said the protester, who is in his 70s, regained consciousness and told police that he doused himself in oil before setting himself on fire. A note he said was “vehemently opposed” to the cremation was found near the scene.

Kyodo News Agency and other outlets said police were called to the scene around 7 a.m. to report that someone had “been engulfed in flames”. Media reports said that a police officer who was putting out the flames was also injured.

Tetsuya Yamagami, who is suspected of shooting Abe to death with a homemade gun on July 8, has told investigators he targeted the politician because of his ties to the Unification Church.

Yamagami said he had family Drowned in poverty 20 years ago when his mother, a church member, donated a large sum of money to the organization.

Abe was not a member of the church, but he a Congratulations video message Last year for affiliate program. A recent survey of 379 ruling party MPs found that nearly half had some form of association with the Unification Church.

The self-proclaimed messiah founded a church in South Korea in 1954 Surya Myung Moonwere encouraged to establish presence in Japan Abe’s grandfather and post-war prime minister Nobusuke Kishi as a counter to communism and trade unionism. An organization known for mass marriages has been accused of pressuring believers to make unaffordable donations – a claim it has denied.

Revelations of ties between Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers and the church dominated the domestic news agenda for weeks, prompting strong opposition to the use of taxpayer money for Abe’s funeral.

There has also been a scam damage The prime minister, Fumio Kishida, announced his support for a state funeral within days of Abe’s death. A Mainichi Shimbun poll conducted over the weekend showed Kishida’s support at 29%, down from six percentage points at the end of August.

Earlier this month, the government said it would pay for the service at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo At least ¥1.7bn ($12m), most of the money is going to large security operations. A Kyodo News Agency poll released on Sunday found that 60.8% opposed the ceremony, while 38.5% expressed support. More than 75% said the government was spending “too much” on funerals.

Foreign guests are expected to include US Vice President Kamala Harris and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. In total, about 6,000 people are expected to attend.

But several current and former leaders will not be attending, including Barack Obama, who was with Abbey in 2016. First US President to visit Hiroshima.

The man who set himself on fire Wednesday is not the first to use self-immolation in protests related to Abe, a conservative whose legacy has inspired both warm tributes and inspiration. Strong criticism.

In 2014, two men set themselves on fire in separate incidents to protest the planned introduction. Security Laws Critics have called it a reckless departure from Japan’s postwar pacifism. One of them died.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, resigned in 2020 citing ill health, but remained influential until he was shot dead during an election campaign speech in the western city of Nara.

With Reuters

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