Shinzo Abe funeral: Crowds gather in Tokyo to pay last respects to former Japanese prime minister

A private funeral was held at the centuries-old Zojoji Temple by the widow Abe. Aki Abe. Well-wishers lined up outside, bringing flowers, notes and green tea – symbols of help in the afterlife – to pay their respects to Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.

After the service, the hearse carrying the former leader’s body traveled from the temple to Kirigaya’s burial hall for cremation, passing important buildings including the prime minister’s office and the parliament building.

Huge crowds lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse. Many waved and raised their hands in the air as the car passed, while others bowed their heads respectfully.

Aki Abe rode in the front seat of the hearse, bowing to the crowd, paying her respects. She carried a generic tablet, a symbol of the transition to the afterlife.

Millions of people around the world reacted with shock and pain to how Abe gunned down in broad daylight during a campaign speech in the central city of Nara on Friday.
Akie Abe, widow of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leaves Jojoji Temple after his funeral on July 12.
The police are investigating the shooting. Suspect, aged 41. Tetsuya YamagamiHe was arrested at the scene, but he has not been formally charged.

The brutal nature of Abe’s death shocked millions across Japan, a country with one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the world.

Abe was “Japan’s national brand,” Nancy Snow, a former Abe research fellow and Fulbright Scholar in Japan, told CNN.

“When I learned about his fatal injury and subsequent death, my heart sank,” she said. “For a person in international relations, even though I may criticize some of his policies, you must appreciate a lot of what he did to get Japan back on the world stage.”

A car carrying Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida leaves Jojoji Temple after the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 12.
Naomi Aoki, Abe supporter Liberal Democratic Partyon Tuesday I waited outside the parliament building, hoping for an opportunity to say goodbye.

“For me, he was the most respected politician in Japan. I want to say goodbye to him for the last time, and I didn’t have a job today. He had a big impact on my life,” Aoki said.

“I don’t think his death will be in vain. People all over the world will feel the impact of what he has accomplished in his life.”