Majaliwa to represent Samia at Abe’s state funeral

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa left the country on Saturday for Tokyo, Japan where he will represent President Samia Suluhu Hassan at a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.

The ceremonies to pay last respects are expected to take place on Tuesday, September 27, this year at the Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo. The retired prime minister died on July 8, this year after being shot at a political campaign rally in the country’s Nara city.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister resigned in 2020, citing poor health, but remained influential until he was shot dead while making an election campaign speech in the western city.

While in Japan, Mr Majaliwa will meet with the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Fumio Kishida.

Thousands of attendees, including representatives from over 217 countries, territories, and international organisations are expected to participate in the state funeral.

Approximately 6,000 international and domestic dignitaries are anticipated at the burial. In addition to diverse representatives from each level of government, this number will also include past and present members of parliament, local government representatives, foreign dignitaries, and prominent national business and community figures.

The ceremony will be the first major public event staged since new police security guidelines were implemented in the aftermath of Abe’s killing, and the capital has seen a massive ramping up of security measures to protect against terrorism and other incidents, including the use of sniffer dogs at train stations and police patrols at Tokyo-area airports.

While the area immediately around the Nippon Budokan will be off-limits to anyone other than invited guests, the funeral committee will set aside an area for the laying of flowers by members of the general public at Kudanzaka Park near the venue.

The memorial service is expected to last approximately one and a half hours — about half the length of the memorial service held for Shigeru Yoshida in 1965, the last time a former prime minister was honored with a state funeral.

After entering the hall, attendees will listen to a speech given by Matsuno, the deputy chair of the funeral committee. They will then rise for the national anthem before observing a moment’s silence.

That will then be followed by commemorative speeches — first from Prime Minister Kishida as chair of the funeral committee, then Hiroyuki Hosoda, speaker of the House of Representatives; Hidehisa Otsuji, speaker of the House of Councillors; Saburo Tokura, chief justice of the Supreme Court; and finally former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as a representative of Abe’s closest colleagues.

In line with tradition, Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, and Empress Emerita Michiko will not be attending the funeral, and their imperial envoys will pay their respects at the altar in their stead.

Other members of the imperial family, including Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, will then lay flowers of condolence, followed by other attendees, including members of the bereaved family.

The ceremony will end with the sending off of Abe’s remains and the laying of commemorative wreaths.

 

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