Man sets himself on fire in Japan to protest former PM’s state funeral

Tata

Sep 22, 2022

A Japanese man was reported to have set himself on fire in the early hours of Wednesday near the prime minister’s office.

Eyewitnesses immediately called the police and firefighters, who acted promptly to put out the blaze.

The man, believed to be in his 70s, suffered burns but had since been taken to a hospital in Tokyo to receive medical attention.

“I have heard that police found a man who had suffered burns near the cabinet office this morning before 7 am, and I’m aware that police are investigating,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Wednesday.

Police are yet to confirm details about the incident. However, local media reports that the man had earlier informed a nearby police officer that he opposed the idea of holding a state funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this month.

The same message was also found in handwritten notes recovered beside the man according to reports.

TV Asahi revealed that police are currently compiling evidence from surveillance cameras and eyewitnesses. The news source also stated that a cop who attempted to put out the fire was hurt and was taken to the hospital.

Who was Shinzo Abe?

Shinzo Abe, born 21 September 1954, was a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Liberal Democratic Party from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020. He was the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history.

At a rally for his political party, Abe was shot and killed on July 8th at the age of 67. The incident came as a surprise to the country and was condemned internationally.

A grim atmosphere before the state funeral

The Japanese government has indicated that a state funeral for Abe will take place on September 27.

State funerals, however, are uncommon in Japan, and protesters claim they object to the government spending taxpayers’ money on the ceremony, which is expected to cost roughly 1.65 billion yen (£10.1 million; $11.4 million), while others point out Mr. Abe’s politically controversial status.

The number of Politicians in Japan’s parliament who have been discovered to have ties to the controversial Unification Church has also led to an upsurge in criticism of the event.

Abe’s accused killer said that he attacked Abe because of his ties to the Unification Church, which, according to him, had caused his family’s financial ruin.

According to polls, the majority of Japanese people oppose the event. However, the government is yet to comment on the protest

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