By TAKAHIRO TAKIZAWA/ Staff Writer
September 20, 2022 at 13:05 JST
Protesters against the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe applaud a speech in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Sept. 19. (Yosuke Fukudome)
Opposition lawmakers joined thousands of protesters in Tokyo on Sept. 19 who demanded the government scrap the state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
According to the organizers, around 13,000 people gathered at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward despite the heavy rain and wind from Typhoon No. 14.
Demonstrators at the rally raised placards and banners that read, “No State Funeral.” The protesters then marched in two courses through the streets around the park.
The rally was organized by a group called “Senso Sasenai, 9-jo Kowasuna! Sogakari Kodo Jikko Iinkai” (We will not let war occur. Don’t destroy Article 9! The committee for all-out actions) and “Sayonara Genpatsu 10,000,000 Nin Action Jikko Iinkai” (The executive committee for 10 million people’s action to say goodbye to nuclear power plants).
Lawmakers from opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, as well as writer Keiko Ochiai, joined the calls for the cancellation of Abe’s state funeral.
At the beginning of the rally, members of the organizing groups spoke from a stage about the reasons for opposing the state funeral scheduled for Sept. 27 at Nippon Budokan Hall in the capital.
One reason cited was Abe’s relationship with the Unification Church. The man suspected of fatally shooting Abe in July has told investigators that his life was ruined because his mother donated the family’s money to the Unification Church.
Miyoko Narusaka, 73, who lives in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward, also explained why she is against using taxpayers’ money for Abe’s state funeral.
She said questions remain about Abe’s possible involvement in favoritism scandals at Moritomo Gakuen and the Kake Educational Institution, as well as the taxpayer-funded cherry blossom viewing parties held in Tokyo when he was prime minister.
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