Man sets himself on fire in Japan to protest state funeral for Shinzo Abe

A man set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister’s office in Tokyo early Wednesday, apparently in protest at the state funeral planned for former leader Shinzo Abe next week, officials and media reports said.

The man, believed to be in his 70s, suffered burns to large parts of his body but was conscious and told police he set himself on fire after pouring oil over him, Kyodo News Agency reported. The man has been taken to a hospital.

A note apparently written by the man was found with him that read, “Personally, I am absolutely against” Abe’s funeral, Kyodo said.

A Tokyo Fire Department official confirmed that a man set himself on fire on the street in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki governmental district, but declined to provide further details, including the man’s identity, motive or condition, citing sensitivity. of what was a police case.

Tokyo police declined to comment, including a report that a police officer was caught in the fire.

A man speaks into a microphone
In this image from a video, Abe delivers a campaign speech in Nara, western Japan, shortly before he was shot on July 8. He died of his injuries. (Kyodo News/The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly of World Leaders. He delivered a speech on Tuesday expressing disappointment at the Security Council’s failure to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over Russia’s permanent veto, and called for reforms that would enable the UN to better improve global peace and order. to defend.

The planned state funeral for Abe has become less and less popular among Japanese as more details emerge about the ruling party’s ties and Abe with the Unification Church, which has built close ties with Liberal Democrat party lawmakers over their shared interests. in conservative goals.

The suspect in Abe’s murder reportedly believed his mother’s donations to the church were ruining his family. The LDP has said nearly half of its lawmakers have ties to the Church.

A state funeral is a rare event in Japan, but Kishida has said Abe deserves credit as Japan’s longest-serving leader after World War II and for his diplomatic and economic achievements.

Critics have said it was decided undemocratically and is an inappropriate and costly use of taxpayers’ money. They say Kishida was meant to please Abe’s party faction and bolster his own power.

Police inspect a scene in Japan
The man who set himself on fire survived and was taken to hospital for treatment. He suffered burns to large parts of his body. (Kyodo News/The Associated Press)

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