Japan | Man sets himself on fire protesting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

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A man set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister’s office in protest at the government’s decision to hold a State funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, killed in July, local media reported.

The subject was transported to the hospital with full body burnswhile a policeman who was trying to extinguish the flames was also injured.

The man, in his 70s, was unconscious when he was first found but later told police he had deliberately doused himself with oil, media said. Nearby was a letter about Abe’s state funeral and the words “I strongly object.”

Police refused to confirm the incident, which took place in what would have been the Abe’s 68th birthday.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister who resigned in 2020 citing health problems, was shot to death at a campaign rally on July 8.

Their state funeral is scheduled for September 27with the participation of about 6,000 people from Japan and abroad.

Opposition to the event has been growing due to revelations after Abe’s assassination of links between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), of which he was a powerful member, and the controversial Unification Church. The suspect in Abe’s death said the church bankrupted her mother and she felt that the former prime minister supported her.

Links to the Unification Church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s, have become a major problem for current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the LDP since they emerged after Abe’s assassination. Earlier this month, the LDP said a survey showed almost half of the 379 LDP lawmakers had some kind of interaction with the church.

Japanese Police Arrest Tetsuya Yamagami After Shooting Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe | Photo: Reuters

Public opinion was narrowly in favor of a state funeral at the time it was announced, shortly after Abe’s death, but opinion has changed dramatically. (Reuters)

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