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Japan city to fly flags at half-staff on day of state funeral for ex-PM Abe

Flowers are offered at a stand for the general public at Zojoji temple in Tokyo's Minato Ward on July 11, 2022, the night a wake was held for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa -- The government of this eastern Japan city decided on Sept. 2 to fly flags at half-staff at municipal facilities including city hall and administration centers on Sept. 27, the day of the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to express condolences.

    The Japanese government announced on Aug. 31 that it will fly official mourning flags at its Cabinet Office, ministries and agencies on the day and observe a moment of silence at a fixed time during the state funeral, which will be held at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo.

    Following the central government's move, Yokosuka Mayor Katsuaki Kamiji decided to fly flags at half-staff and notified affiliated municipal departments of the decision, according to the city. However, the municipal government will not force its employees to observe a moment of silence, out of respect for their individual intentions, and did not request its education board to fly flags at half-staff.

    Yokosuka and other municipalities in Kanagawa Prefecture set up places for people to sign books of condolences in mid-July after Abe was shot dead on July 8. The Yokosuka Municipal Government received mixed reviews over such a move at a public site.

    In regard to flying flags at half-staff, an official at the municipal government said, "The mayor made the independent decision after the national government decided to hold a state funeral but didn't request cooperation from local bodies, and municipalities were left to adopt their own responses."

    (Japanese original by Toshiaki Hashimoto, Yokosuka Local Bureau)

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