Man Sets Himself On Fire In Apparent Protest Of Funeral For Japan’s Abe
TOKYO (AP) — A man set himself on fire near the office of the Japanese prime minister in Tokyo on Wednesday, officials and media reports said, in apparent protest against a planned state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe next week.
The man, believed to be in his 70s, had burns to most of his body but was conscious and told police he set himself on fire after pouring oil on himself, Kyodo news agency reported.
According to Kyodo news agency, a note was found on his body that said, “Personally, I am absolutely against” Abe’s funeral.
Tokyo Fire Department officials confirmed that a man who set himself on fire in the streets of Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki government district was alive when he was taken to hospital by ambulance, but declined to provide further details, including the man’s identity, motive or condition, citing Sensitivity of police affairs.
Police called it a suicide attempt and declined to provide further details because there was no criminal intent in the case. Police also declined to comment on reports that an officer was involved in the fire.
The incident highlights a growing wave of protests against the funeral of Abe, one of the most divisive leaders in postwar Japanese politics because of his revisionist views on wartime history, support for a stronger military and Critics have called it authoritarian practices and cronyism. More protests are expected in the coming days, including the day of the funeral next week.
It’s also an embarrassment for the police, who have stepped up security and are expected to be attended by about 6,000 people, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and other dignitaries.
police Abe, who was also partly blamed for the lack of protection for Abe, was shot and killed by a gunman who approached him from behind while giving an outdoor campaign speech in July.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in New York for the annual meeting of world leaders of the United Nations General Assembly. Speaking on Tuesday, he expressed disappointment at the Security Council’s failure to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of Russia’s permanent veto, and called for reforms that would enable the United Nations to better defend global peace and order.
Abe’s planned state funeral has become increasingly unpopular in Japan as more details of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Abe’s relationship with the Unification Church emerge, with the Unification Church and party lawmakers building on their shared interests in conservative causes close relationship.
The suspect in Abe’s assassination reportedly believed his mother’s large donation to the church had ruined his family. Liberal Democratic Party Zeng has said that nearly half of the lawmakers have ties to the church, but party officials deny that there is a link between the party as an organization and the church.
Kishida said Abe, as Japan’s longest-reigning post-World War II leader and his diplomatic and economic achievements, deserves a state funeral.
Critics say it was an undemocratic decision, an inappropriate and costly use of taxpayer funds. They said Kishida decided to hold a state funeral to please Abe’s party and support his own power. Support for the Kishida government has dipped amid public dissatisfaction with his handling of the party’s church relations and funeral plans.
Abe’s family funeral was held at a Buddhist temple in July. The state funeral is scheduled for next Tuesday at the Budokan Martial Arts Hall in Tokyo.