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Japanese man sets himself on fire to protest former PM Shinzo Abe’s funeral

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Sep 21, 2022

A man set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister’s office on Wednesday in an apparent protest at the government’s decision to hold a state funeral for former premier Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated on July 8 this year, media reported.

The man, in his 70s, was unconscious when he was first found but later told police that he had deliberately doused himself in oil, media said. A letter about Abe’s state funeral and the words “I strongly oppose it” was found nearby. He was taken to hospital suffering burns to his entire body, while a police officer who tried to extinguish the flames was also injured. Police declined to confirm the incident, which took place on what would have been Abe’s 68th birthday.

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The state funeral for Abe, Japan’s longest serving premier, is set for Sept. 27, with some 6,000 people from Japan and overseas expected to take part.

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Opposition to the event has been growing due to revelations about Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties with the controversial Unification Church. The suspect who shot Abe blamed him for supporting the church, which he said had bankrupted his mother.

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