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Shinzo Abe: Japan holds divisive state funeral for assassinated ex-prime minister

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By Euronews  with AFP, AP
Over 4,300 attendees were invited to Shinzo Abe's state funeral
Over 4,300 attendees were invited to Shinzo Abe's state funeral   -   Copyright  Franck Robichon/AP   -  

The controversial state funeral of Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe -- assassinated giving a campaign speech in July -- took place on Tuesday. 

Akie Abe, the wife of the late politician, carried her husband's ashes in front of the watchful eyes of 4,300 attendees.

US Vice President Kamala Harris and India's Prime minister Narendra Modi were among the mourners.

Paying tribute to his predecessor, current Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, said: "You were in power the longest in our constitutional history, but history will remember you more for your achievements than for your duration."

Hours before the ceremony, hundreds of grievers lined up for hours to leave flowers and pay their final respects to Abe.

But his state funeral, at a time of soaring inflation, has upset some. 

Thousands of protestors took to the streets of the capital to denounce a funeral that will cost Japanese taxpayers more than €12 million.

Opinion polls showed 57% of respondents opposed the state funeral, while 32% support it.

The late leader was disliked for his unpopular policies and his ties to the South Korean Unification Church, which has faced major backlash for its aggressive fundraising practices, requesting large donations from its members.

The state funeral for Sinzho Abe was so controversial that last week a man set himself on fire in Tokyo as a form of protest.