Japanese man sets himself on fire over Abe’s state funeral | Politics News

Shinzo Abe is Japan’s longest serving prime minister, but recent polls show that more than half of the public opposes the ceremony.

A man set himself on fire near the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, Japanese media reported, in an apparent protest over plans to hold a state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe later this month. .

TV Asahi said the man got out of the car on his own early Wednesday and was taken to hospital with burns to his entire body. A policeman trying to put out the fire was also injured.

Kyodo news agency and others said police were called to the scene at around 7am (22:00GMT) after reports of a man “under fire”. A letter protesting Abe’s state funeral was found nearby, it added.

Police, the prime minister’s office and the cabinet office all declined to comment on the reports.

Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister, is killed while campaigning for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on July 8. A state-sponsored funeral will be held in Tokyo on September 27, with around 6,000 people from Japan and abroad in attendance.

But state funerals are rare in Japan, and the decision has been controversial. Recent polls show that more than half of the public opposes the event.

The opposition has something to do with the growing revelations about links between the LDP and the controversial Unification Church. The suspect in Abe’s death has said the organization has bankrupted his mother and that he feels the former prime minister supports it.

The Unification Church was founded in South Korea in the 1950s, and the LDP earlier this month said a survey found that nearly half of its 379 legislators had some form of interaction with an organization established by the United Nations. considered a sect.

While the Japanese public was largely unsupported by a state funeral at the time it was announced, shortly after Prime Minister Abe’s death, opinion changed drastically, to the detriment of support. for current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

A Mainichi Daily poll conducted over the weekend put Kishida’s support at 29%, down six percentage points from the end of August – a level that analysts say puts the prime minister at risk. It is difficult to get enough support to carry out its agenda.

Mainichi said support for the LDP fell 6 points to 23%.

Kishida has repeatedly defended his decision, but the vast majority of voters remain unconvinced, also questioning the need for such an expensive ceremony at a time of growing economic growth for with many people.

According to its latest estimates, the government is expected to spend 1.65 billion yen ($11.5 million) on the event at Tokyo’s Budokan, a major venue for concerts and sporting events. .

World leaders, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, are among those expected to attend.

Abe is Japan’s most famous politician and remains a prominent public figure after Resigned due to health reasons in 2020.

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