Japan honours Shinzo Abe with controversial state funeral

Japan has bid farewell to assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a rare state funeral that divided the nation.

Some 4,000 mourners – including Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino, and United States Vice President Kamala Harris – attended Tuesday’s ceremony for Abe, who was gunned down on July 8 while delivering a campaign speech in the western city of Nara.

The event began at 2pm (05:00 GMT) with the Japan Self-Defense Forces firing 19 shots in honour of Japan’s longest-serving prime minister as his wife, Akie Abe, carried his ashes into Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan hall.

A military band played the national anthem and soldiers dressed in white uniforms took Abe’s ashes and placed them on a pedestal decorated with yellow and white chrysanthemum flowers.

Attendants observed a moment of silence for Abe.

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