Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday joined several world leaders in Tokyo to attend former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's state funeral. Japan began the state funeral with his widow Akie carrying his ashes into a Tokyo hall where thousands of mourners gathered. Tributes were paid with flowers, prayers and a 19-gun salute.
Ahead of the ceremony, PM Modi held a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida. He noted the contributions of former PM Abe in strengthening the India-Japan partnership as well as in conceptualizing the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
"He took the Japan-India relationship to a greater level and also expanded it in many areas," PM Modi said. Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 heads of state and governments, attended his funeral.
Shinzo Abe was assassinated on July 8 at a campaign rally in the southern Japanese city of Nara. Early on Tuesday morning, a few hundred citizens lined the streets outside the venue waiting to offer flowers at designated stands. The state funeral for Abe, who received a private funeral days after his assassination, is the first since one in 1967 for former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida
Amid tight security, about 4,300 attendees gathered in Tokyo to pay their respects. US Vice President Kamala Harris, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Narendra Modi and South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo are among about 700 foreign dignitaries from 218 countries, regions and international organizations who are attending the ceremony.
There has been opposition to honouring Abe with a state funeral, fed by an $11.5-million price tag to be borne by the state at a time of economic pain for ordinary citizens.