Japanese pay their last respects to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead while speaking at an election campaign in western Japan’s Nara city last Friday.
Family, close friends and foreign dignitaries attended the funeral of Abe hosted by his widow, Akie Abe.
The streets were lined with throngs of mourners with flowers, notes and green tea to pay their respects to Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
Following the private service, a hearse carrying the former leader’s body left the Zojoji Temple going to the Kirigaya Funeral Hall for cremation. Akie Abe was in the front seat of the hearse carrying an ancestral tablet, a symbol of transition to the afterlife.
The hearse traveled through Tokyo’s main political district, Nagata-cho, where Abe spent more than three decades after being first elected to parliament in 1991. It then drove slowly by the governing party headquarters, where senior lawmakers in dark suits stood outside and prayed, before heading to the prime minister’s office, where Abe served a total of nearly a decade.
As the funeral procession passed, people bowed deeply with their hands joined in prayer while others applauded, cheered, and waved. Some have shouted out. “Abe-San, thank you so much.”
The government on Monday honored Abe with the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, the nation’s highest decoration. The Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is made from pure gold and is worn by the emperor, and has been awarded to several visiting foreign heads of state in the past. In addition, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako brought flowers and ordered a chamberlain to burn incense during Abe’s wake.
Abe has also been awarded the Junior First Rank of Court, according to the Cabinet Office. He is the fourth former prime minister to receive the award since the end of World War II.
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