Ex-Prime Minister Abe’s prefectural funeral in Yamaguchi

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The Yomiuri Shimbun
Attendees observe a minute’s silence at the Yamaguchi Prefectural funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture on Saturday.

Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, (Jiji Press)—A Yamaguchi prefectural funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was held Saturday in Japan’s western prefecture, which includes Abe’s constituency.

The funeral, which took place in the city of Shimonoseki, was organized by an organizing committee made up of the prefectural government and the prefectural branch of the Liberal Democratic Party, as well as the Abe family and its support group.

Some 2,000 people from Yamaguchi and beyond attended the event, at which Abe’s wife Akie, the main bereaved, gave a speech.

“During his 67-year life, he met many people and was supported by them,” Akie said. As time passed after his death, she said, “I’m starting to feel real and I think he’s really gone.”

She said she might lose her motivation after the prefectural funeral, but added, “My husband loved Yamaguchi and I love him too. So I hope to do something for this area.

Abe was shot on July 8 while delivering a campaign speech ahead of a House of Councilors election. His state funeral took place on September 27.

At the prefectural funeral, the altar was designed in the image of the prefecture’s natural environment, including the surrounding mountain ranges and sea, to show the former prime minister’s vision of a “Japan open and beautiful”.

A video summarizing Abe’s activities during his lifetime was released after a moment of silence.

Yamaguchi Governor Tsugumasa Muraoka, head of the funeral planning committee, Speaker of the House of Representatives Hiroyuki Hosoda and Teruo Ito, head of the Abe Support Group, delivered eulogies.

Funeral attendees also included cabinet members and sitting lawmakers, as well as officials from the United States, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan.

In addition to the funeral venue in Shimonoseki, flower offerings and other venues have been set up at seven locations in the prefecture.

Abe was the sixth person to receive a prefectural funeral in Yamaguchi, following former prime ministers Eisaku Sato and Nobusuke Kishi, former foreign minister Shintaro Abe, and former Yamaguchi governors Masayuki Hashimoto and Tatsuo Tanaka.

“I met (Abe) directly several times, and felt he was very friendly and kind,” said Kikumi Sano, 71, who came to deliver flowers near the funeral site.

“It is right to dismiss Mr. Abe, who dedicated his life to working for his country and his hometown, with a prefectural funeral,” said a 31-year-old woman from the city of Fukuoka, west of Yamaguchi. .

Meanwhile, a civic group opposing the amendment of Article 9 of the Constitution renouncing war held a rally outside the Shimonoseki city office, with some 80 attendees holding banners expressing their opposition to the prefectural funeral.

Referring to the Yamaguchi Prefectural Board of Education’s request for prefectural-run schools to lower flags for Abe’s funeral, Yuzuru Kumano, 69, co-head of the group, said “We must never allow them to force people to respect (to Abe) and trample on our freedom of thought.

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