Crowds of mourners gathered in Tokyo today, lining the streets around Zojoji Temple where the funeral service for late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being held.
The funeral is private, limited only to the former leader’s family, confidants, and foreign dignitaries – but members of the public flocked to the area to pay their respects.
Images from the scene show mourners weeping and storming, holding flowers, notes and other offerings that will be placed at the memorial outside the temple.
Abe has been a controversial but hugely popular figure, serving two terms in office from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020.
The temple is a centuries-old structure of historical and cultural significance, housing the tombs of Japan’s military rulers from the Edo period.
A special wake-up ceremony for Abe was also held at the temple on Monday night, in the presence of his widow, Aki Abe, and other relatives and guests.
After the funeral ceremony, the body carrying Abe’s body will be taken from the temple to the funeral hall in Kirigaya for cremation.
On the way, Heaven will pass important sites including the Prime Minister’s Office, Parliament Building and Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party headquarters. In the Prime Minister’s Office compound, office staff will stand outside to bid him farewell.
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