Updated Sep 27, 2022 - World

Protests as Japan honors assassinated former PM Abe with state funeral

People pay their respects to the assassinated former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe outside the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on Monday. Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP via Getty Images

Japan honored its assassinated former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on Tuesday with a state funeral in Tokyo, attended by scores of dignitaries, including Vice President Kamala Harris.

The big picture: Security was tight at the rare state funeral for the country's longest serving prime minister, who was fatally shot in the city of Nara in July, due to massive protests as multiple opposition lawmakers boycotted the event.

Vice President Kamala Harris (C) arrives for the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 27, 2022 at the Budokan in Tokyo.
Vice President Kamala Harris (center) arriving for Abe's state funeral at the Budokan in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Franck Robichon — Pool/Getty Images
  • Thousands of people were seated inside the Nippon Budokan arena for the ceremony and thousands others lined up outside to pay their respects, but several thousand have also protested the event, the BBC reports.

Context: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Abe should be honored with the state funeral due to his record of service.

  • But some have raised concerns that such occasions are tinged with prewar imperial ties, and there's been outrage at the cost of the event as well as the ruling party's links to the ultra-conservative Unification Church, per AP.

Zoom in: Abe's killing thrust the South Korea-founded church and its ties to his and Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party into the spotlight as his suspected assassin blamed it for bankrupting his mother and he resented what he saw as the late leader's promotion of the organization.

  • Kishida has formally apologized for the links and reshuffled his cabinet to purge it of members connected to the church while denying its conservative policies influenced his party.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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