Updated: July 24, 2022 10:44:36 am
The suspected assassin of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go through psychiatric evaluation until later this year, reports in the Japanese media said on Saturday.
The 41-year-old suspect was apprehended at the scene with a handmade gun on July 8, when Abe was shot during a campaign speech.
A court in western Japan’s Nara, where the assassination took place, agreed to prosecutors’ request that the suspect be held for psychiatric examination, media reports said.
According to Nikkei, the evaluation will determine whether or not the man will be indicted for the shooting.
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State funeral for Abe sparks national debate
Meanwhile on Friday, Japan’s Cabinet said that it would hold a state funeral for the slain former prime minister on September 27, sparking protests over what critics see as an attempt to glorify a divisive political figure.
“We made this decision, as has been said before, due to Abe’s record as the longest-serving prime minister, during which he exerted leadership skills distinctive from others and bore heavy responsibility for dealing with a number of serious domestic and international issues,” chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters at a press conference on Friday.
Matsuno said that a state funeral for Abe was appropriate because of the slain prime minister’s “distinguished contributions” as the longest-serving Japanese leader and his “outstanding leadership and decisive actions” in areas including economic recovery, the promotion of diplomacy centered on the Japan-US alliance, and reconstruction following the 2011 tsunami.
Abe’s state funeral will be held at the Nippon Budokan, an arena built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and will be a non-religious ceremony, Matsuno said.
The funeral will be fully financed through state funds, the chief cabinet secretary said, likely to be taken from the budget reserve.
“We will also accept foreign dignitaries, and countries we have diplomatic relationships with will be informed of details,” he said.
The plan to hold a state funeral for Abe has stirred up some outrage on the streets of Japan and social media.
While some have opposed the use of public funds for the ceremony, others have raised concerns that the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government may seek to reap political capital from Abe’s death and cement his legacy.
On Friday, nearly 200 people gathered outside Kishida’s office in Tokyo to protest against the state funeral plans, Kyodo news agency said.
Earlier on Thursday, an injunction was filed in a Tokyo court by 50 people seeking to stop the use of tax money for the event, saying that there should have been more discussion on the issue.
In a recent public opinion survey by public broadcaster NHK, only 49% supported the idea of a state funeral for Abe.
Abe’s private funeral took place at a Tokyo temple on July 12.
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