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.
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.”
“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.”