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Japan bids farewell to Shinzo Abe

On Tuesday the funeral of Shinzo Abe took place in Tokyo. With prayers, flowers and flags draped in black ribbons, thousands of people said farewell to the former, longest-serving prime minister of Japan, who was gunned down at a campaign rally last week.

Hundreds of people filed into a central Tokyo temple on Monday evening and Tuesday morning to pay their respects to Abe, who died aged 67. His killing on Friday by an unemployed man wielding a homemade gun stunned the nation where both gun crime and political violence are extremely rare.

The funeral procession passed through Tokyo, including the capital’s political heart of Nagatacho and landmarks such as the parliament building which Abe first entered as a young lawmaker.

Shinzo Abe — Japan's longest-serving prime minister


📹 People in Tokyo queue with flowers to pay their final respects to Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe at Zojoji Temple, where a private funeral is to be held

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 12, 2022

The funeral ceremony, limited to family and close friends, was closed to the media.

Tributes poured in from international leaders, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken making a brief stop en route to the United States from Southeast Asia on Monday morning to pay his respects. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Taiwan Vice-President William Lai, on a private visit as a family friend, also joined mourners.

Nearly 2,000 messages of condolence arrived from nations around the world, Kyodo news agency stated.

Shinzo Abe’s life

Shinzo Abe was born in Tokyo to parents Yoko Kishi and Shintaro Abe. He hails from a wealthy family of politicians. His father was the foreign minister and his grandfather a premier.

The former prime minister studied public administration at Seikei University and public policy at the University of Southern California in the US. He started working in the private sector before getting involved in government work. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993.

Shinzo Abe was Japan’s Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, when he resigned due to health issues. But even after leaving public office, Mr Abe remained arguably the most prominent politician in Japan. He was campaigning for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ahead of Sunday’s election.

TIME's new cover: The legacy of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving leader

— TIME (@TIME) July 8, 2022

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