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1,000-plus people march in Tokyo to protest ex-PM Abe's state funeral: organizers

People rally against the planned state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, outside the west exit of JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on Aug. 16, 2022. (Mainichi/Satoshi Tokairin)

TOKYO -- More than 1,000 people joined a march in the Japanese capital on Aug. 16 to protest the planned state funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to organizer estimates.

    Writers, journalist and others called for the rally outside the west exit of JR Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo. According to organizers, some 850 citizens met at the gathering point, with some holding placards with messages such as "No state funeral" and "Don't force sympathies onto us," and demanded the state funeral plan be canceled.

    Organizers included writers Keiko Ochiai and Hisae Sawachi, journalists Satoshi Kamata and Kozo Nagata, and former education ministry administrative vice minister Kihei Maekawa -- all prominent critics of the Abe administration during its time in power.

    While saying, "No matter who it is, their life mustn't be lost by violence," Ochiai added, "Let's raise our voices in conscientious objection to using Abe's death to compel our sympathies."

    Nagata joined the chorus of dissent, calling the Abe era "a time when (the administration) seemed like it was pulling Japan back into its wartime state."

    After the rally, participants marched around the station, declaiming, "The state funeral will destroy democracy." More people joined as the group went on, and organizers said that the number of participants ultimately swelled to over 1,000.

    The Japanese government has said it is planning Abe's state funeral for Sept. 27.

    (Japanese original by Satoshi Tokairin, Tokyo City News Department)

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