Abe's $12M State Funeral May Have Spurred Self-Immolation

Man set himself on fire near Japanese prime minister's office in Tokyo
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2022 11:24 AM CDT
Japanese Man Set Himself on Fire Over State Funeral
Police inspect the scene where a man is reported to have set himself on fire, near the prime minister's office in Tokyo, on Wednesday.   (Kyodo News via AP)

A man set himself on fire outside the Japanese prime minister's office in apparent protest of a state funeral for the assassinated ex-leader Shinzo Abe. It happened on Wednesday, on what would've been Abe's 68th birthday. The elderly man, initially found unconscious with burns to his entire body, was taken to a hospital, along with an officer who tried to extinguish the flames, per Reuters. He later told police he'd deliberately covered himself in oil and set himself alight. The outlet reports a letter expressing strong opposition to the state funeral for Japan's longest-serving prime minister, set for Sept. 27 in Tokyo, was found near the scene.

In a recent poll by the Kyodo news agency, 60% of respondents opposed a state funeral for Abe, which is to cost $12 million, the Guardian reports. It's unusual as state funerals are "usually reserved for members of the imperial family," per CNN. Opposition has grown following revelations of ties between Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and the Unification Church, per the Guardian. The man who shot and killed Abe in July cited Abe's support for the church, which he said had urged his mother to make a donation that she couldn't afford, per investigators. A recent survey showed almost half of Liberal Democratic lawmakers had some form of interaction with the group, the outlet reports. (Read more Japan stories.)

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