A man set himself on fire in Tokyo, near the Japanese prime minister’s office, to protest against the controversial state funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, scheduled for September 27. According to media reports, the man was taken to hospital unconscious.
With our correspondent in Tokyo, Frederic Charles
For now, the police, government and media in Tokyo are treating the self-immolation as an isolated act. A policeman who was trying to put out the flames was injured. Nothing is known about the man in his 70s, who was unconscious when he was discovered near Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office. Beside him he left a letter which reads: I strongly oppose at the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At the hospital, he told police that he intentionally doused his body with gasoline.
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The majority of Japanese are opposed to this tribute which will be paid next week to Shinzo Abe. Demonstrations are expected in the days leading up to the ceremony. On July 8, the former Prime Minister was assassinated in Nara by Tetsuya Yamagami who reproached him for his ties to the Unification Church, known as the Moon sect. The assassin accused the sect of having ruined his family.
Shinzo Abe, frowned upon by many Japanese
Considered a nationalist and a revisionist, Shinzo Abe was frowned upon by many Japanese. The latter also did not appreciate his desire to revise the pacifist Constitution to restore the country’s right to belligerency. For decades, the ruling conservative party has cooperated with the Moon sect known for its anti-communism, especially during elections.
Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is being blamed for his inability to sever ties with the religious group. Half of his party’s parliamentarians and several members of his government are still linked to the sect. The other criticism is the cost to taxpayers of these state funerals: 12 million euros, probably two to three times more in reality. Several foreign leaders are expected, including US Vice President Kamala Harris.