Opposition lawmakers joined thousands of protesters in Tokyo on September 19 calling on the government to halt the state funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
According to organizers, despite the heavy rain and wind from Typhoon No. 14, around 13,000 people gathered at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.
Protesters at the rally raised placards and banners reading “No State Funeral”. The demonstrators then marched in two courses through the streets surrounding the park.
The rally was led by a group called “Senso Sasenai, 9-jo Kowasuna! Sogakari Kodo Jikko Iinkai” (We will not allow war. Do not destroy Article 9! The Comprehensive Action Committee) and “Sayonara Genpatsu 10,000,000 Nin Action Jikko Iinkai” (The Executive Committee for the Action of 10 million people to say goodbye to nuclear power plants).
Lawmakers from opposition parties, including the Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, and writer Keiko Ochiai joined calls for Abe’s state funeral to be canceled.
At the beginning of the rally, members of the organizing groups spoke from a stage about the reasons for resisting the state funeral scheduled for September 27 at Nippon Budokan Hall in the capital.
One reason given was Abe’s relationship with the Unification Church. The man suspected of fatally shooting Abe in July told investigators his life was ruined because his mother donated the money to the Unification Church family.
Miyoko Narusaka, 73, who lives in Tokyo’s Itabashi district, also explained why she is opposed to using taxpayers’ money for Abe’s state funeral.
She said there were still questions about Abe’s possible involvement in favoritism scandals at Moritomo Gakuen and the Kake Educational Institution, as well as taxpayer-funded cherry blossom festivals in Tokyo when he was prime minister.