Thu, 08 Dec 2022

Tokyo [Japan], September 27 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attended the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo.

Modi was seen along with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the funeral.

Leaders from around the world have also arrived in Tokyo for the event. More than 700 foreign guests have flown in for the event, including about 50 current or former state leaders.

Dignitaries include US Vice President Kamala Harris, Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Philippines Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, Indonesia Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, and European Council President Charles Michel.

The state funeral began with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida receiving the ashes, which appear to be contained in a ceremonial box.

He then formally handed it to military officers who placed the box in the centre of the altar, set up at the front of the room.

The Nippon Budokan Hall also played the videos of Abe featuring his key moments in a tribute to the assassinated leader. It also included the time when Abe met Prime Minister Modi among many pictures of Abe with other world leaders at global summits and addressing the United Nations.

The video tribute focused on Abe's standing as a world leader and his concerted efforts to maintain good relationships with foreign countries.

Shinzo Abe is credited with revitalising the key Trans-Pacific Partnership after the US withdrew. Notably, Shinzo Abe has been considered as one of the most important forces behind the "Quad" strategic partnership - an alliance between India, Japan, the US and Australia.

Meanwhile, up to 1,000 soldiers will perform ceremonial duties, with a military honour guard firing 19 blank rounds from a cannon to salute the former PM.

A massive security cordon has been thrown around the Budokan arena - as dozens of VIPs and dignitaries in long motorcades arrive for the ceremony.

The 67-year-old politician, Japan's longest-serving PM, was gunned down at an election rally on July 8th during a speech in Japan's Nara city.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, approached the politician from behind and fired two shots from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet).

The attacker reportedly plotted the assassination of the 67-year-old former head of government for nearly a year.

Abe, Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister, stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons. He was Prime Minister of Japan twice, from 2006-07 and again from 2012-20. He was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga and later by Fumio Kishida. (ANI)

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