More than 25,000 people lay flowers at Abe’s funeral
Tokyo, Sep 28 (EFE).- More than 25,000 people laid flowers in Tokyo for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the eve of the state funeral held in his honor, according to figures provided by the government on Wednesday.
“Up to 4,183 people attended the state funeral ceremony and 25,889 people offered floral tributes at the altars for citizens” installed in the Kudanzaka park, not far from the Nippon Budokan pavilion where the funeral ceremony took place, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said.
Isozaki presented a summary of the funeral in a press conference and said that citizens were able to express to mourn Abe in a solemn and warm atmosphere, without any untoward incidents.
The government had installed altars on Tuesday for anybody who wanted to lay flowers.
The venue opened at 9.30 am local time, half an hour earlier than planned, and was kept open until around 7 pm, three hours past the scheduled closure.
People started queuing outside the venue about two hours before the opening, and the queues stretched out to several kilometers.
These acts of condolence were in sharp contrast with the protests organized on the same day, not far from the venue.
About 600 protesters gathered in a park in Chiyoda three hours before the ceremony and later 2,500 people assembled in Hibiya Park and marched in the city’s political center in protest against the funeral, according to the organizers.
Groups critical of the state funeral held gatherings in several cities of Japan and also made a stir on social media.
According to surveys conducted weeks before the funeral, around half of the Japanese population was opposed to a state funeral in Abe’s memory.
Events of this kind, financed with public funds, are not very common in Japan.
The funeral of Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister so far, was the second state funeral after World War II since a 1967 event dedicated to former PM Shigeru Yoshida, who led the economic reconstruction of the country.
The ceremonies are set to cost at least 1,649 million yen (approximately $11.4 million). EFE