Japan holds Shinzo Abe's funeral

By Jessie Yeung and Rhea Mogul, CNN

Updated 0915 GMT (1715 HKT) July 12, 2022
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4:07 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Our live coverage of the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ended. Read more of our coverage here.

3:35 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Shinzo Abe's body prepared for cremation, following private funeral

A hearse carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, makes a brief visit to the Prime Minister's Office, as Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, officials and employees offer prayers, in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12.
A hearse carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, makes a brief visit to the Prime Minister's Office, as Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, officials and employees offer prayers, in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12. (Eugene Hoshiko/Reuters)

The body of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe will be cremated at Tokyo's Kirigaya Funeral Hall, following a private funeral on Tuesday.

The hearse carrying Abe's body traveled through the streets of the Japanese capital, passing by a number of significant buildings including the Prime Minister's office and the Parliament building.

Huge crowds have lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying the body of the slain former leader. Many were seen waving and raising their arms in the air as the vehicle drove past, while others bowed their heads in respect.

Abe's widow, Akie Abe, was seen traveling in the front seat of the hearse.

2:23 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Abe's hearse has reached the Prime Minister's office as staff wait to say goodbye

From CNN's Jake Kwon and Mayumi Maruyama

Crowds gather in Tokyo following the funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.
Crowds gather in Tokyo following the funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday. Emiko Jozuka/CNN

The hearse carrying Shinzo Abe's body has reached the Prime Minister’s office in Tokyo, according to a live televised broadcast. 

The hearse was received by members of the Japanese government including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Abe’s brother and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. They were seen bowing at the hearse at it arrived, along with the procession of black cars.

Abe's widow, Akie Abe, greeted the mourners with nods from the front seat of the hearse. 

2:22 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Shinzo Abe's widow, Akie Abe, seen traveling in the front seat of hearse

Akie Abe was seen traveling in the front seat of the hearse carrying her husband's body, following his funeral on Tuesday.
Akie Abe was seen traveling in the front seat of the hearse carrying her husband's body, following his funeral on Tuesday. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)

Akie Abe, the widow of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, was seen traveling in the front seat of the hearse carrying his body, following his funeral on Tuesday.

Akie Abe was seen bowing to the crowd as they paid their respects, while carrying an ancestral tablet, a symbol of transition to the afterlife.

Shinzo Abe's funeral was held at Tokyo's Zojoji Temple, with family and people who were close to the former prime minister in attendance, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.

The hearse carrying Shinzo Abe's body will travel from the temple to the Kirigaya Funeral Hall for cremation, passing by a number of significant buildings including the Prime Minister's office and the Parliament building.

2:44 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Crowds swell on the streets, with people bowing and waving to the hearse carrying Abe's body

Crowds gather in Tokyo on Tuesday for the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Crowds gather in Tokyo on Tuesday for the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

A long procession of black cars is driving past huge crowds gathered outside Tokyo's Zojoji Temple as the hearse carrying Abe's body makes its way to a funeral hall for cremation.

As the cars drive by, crowds — numbering in the hundreds — wave, clap and take photos. Many turned out to pay their respects to the former Prime Minister, a popular but controversial figure.

Some of the people along the street can be seen bowing to the passing hearse, some holding Buddhist beads and other objects of tribute.

The procession will pass by a number of significant buildings, including the Prime Minister's office where staff will stand outside to see Abe off, before arriving at the funeral hall.

1:48 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Body of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe leaves Tokyo's Zojoji Temple

A vehicle carrying the body of the late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leaves after his funeral at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12.
A vehicle carrying the body of the late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leaves after his funeral at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

The body of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has left Tokyo's Zojoji Temple, following a private funeral service hosted by Abe's widow, Akie Abe.

The hearse carrying Abe's body will travel from the temple to the Kirigaya Funeral Hall for cremation, passing by a number of significant buildings including the Prime Minister's office and the Parliament building.

Mourners have been lining the streets outside the temple, bringing flowers, notes and green tea — symbols of help in the afterlife — to pay their respects to Abe.

Lining the sidewalk, a large crowd has gathered hoping to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying the body of the slain former leader. Many were seen waving and raising their arms in the air as the vehicle drove past, while others bowed their heads in respect.

Attendance at the funeral was limited to family members and people who were close to the former prime minister, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.

1:46 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Media throng the streets outside Japan's parliament, waiting for hearse carrying Abe

From CNN's Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Media stand outside Japan's parliament building on Tuesday.
Media stand outside Japan's parliament building on Tuesday. Emiko Jozuka/CNN

Reporters and photographers — and a few dozen members of the public — thronged the streets alongside Japan's parliament building on Tuesday as they waited for the hearse carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pass by.

As a sign of respect in Japanese culture, the body of a prominent figure will often be driven past areas and buildings with which they were heavily associated.

The hearse will leave Zojoji Temple after Abe's funeral service, passing the former leader's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headquarters, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Parliament building, before arriving at the Kirigaya Funeral Hall.

A few members of the public, some dressed in black, are at the scene hoping to catch a final glimpse of their former leader.

Naomi Aoki, a mourner in Tokyo, brought Buddhist beads as she waited for the hearse to pass by on July 12.
Naomi Aoki, a mourner in Tokyo, brought Buddhist beads as she waited for the hearse to pass by on July 12. CNN

Naomi Aoki, an LDP supporter from Tokyo, said she was waiting outside the Parliament building today, hoping for a chance to say farewell. 

"For me, he was the most respected politician in Japan, I want to say the last farewell and I was off work today. He has left a great impact on my life," Aoki said.
"I don’t think his death will be for nothing. People all over the world will feel the impact of what he achieved in his life."
1:07 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

In photos: Crowds mourn Shinzo Abe outside Zojoji Temple

(Shiho Fukada for CNN)
(Shiho Fukada for CNN)

Crowds of mourners have gathered in Tokyo today, lining the streets around Zojoji Temple where the funeral service of late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is taking place.

The funeral is private, limited only to the former leader's family, close ones, and foreign dignitaries — but members of the public poured into the area to pay their respects.

(Shiho Fukada for CNN)
(Shiho Fukada for CNN)

Photos from the scene show mourners crying, hands clutching flowers, notes, and other offerings to place at the memorial outside the temple.

Abe was a controversial but popular figure, having served two terms in office from 2006 to 2007 and 2012 to 2020.

(Shiho Fukada for CNN)
(Shiho Fukada for CNN)

The temple is a centuries-old structure with historic and cultural significance, housing the tombs of Japan's military rulers from the Edo period.

A private wake for Abe was also held at the temple on Monday night, attended by his widow, Akie Abe, other relatives and guests.

(Shiho Fukada for CNN)
(Shiho Fukada for CNN)

After the funeral service, the hearse carrying Abe's body will be taken from the temple to the Kirigaya Funeral Hall for cremation.

On the way, the hearse will pass by significant sites including the Prime Minister's office, the Parliament building and Abe's Liberal Democratic Party headquarters. At the Prime Minister's office compound, office staff will stand outside to see him off.

(Shiho Fukada for CNN)
(Shiho Fukada for CNN)

1:01 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022

Shinzo Abe will be remembered for his grand "Abenomics" experiment, professor says

Seijiro Takeshita, Professor, Management and Information, University of Shizuoka.
Seijiro Takeshita, Professor, Management and Information, University of Shizuoka. (CNN)

Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe "did so much," which is why he was the country's longest-serving leader, a professor from the University of Shizuoka said Tuesday.

Abe came to office at a time when Japan was "suffering a strong Yen" and "exporters were struggling," said Seijiro Takeshita, professor of management and information. He set about rebooting the economy, by launching a grand experiment popularly known as "Abenomics," Takeshita said.

"Certainly, he has made a very positive progress, including trying to get more women into the workplace," Takeshita said.
"He did so much, otherwise he wouldn't be the longest reigning prime minister in our history."

What was Abenomics?: Abe's eponymous economic strategy included three so-called arrows — massive monetary stimulus, increased government spending, and structural reforms.

Abe's allies praised the policy for reviving Japan's economy and boosting consumer and investor confidence. But after a strong start, it faltered and in 2015 Abe fired "three new arrows" designed to boost gross domestic product. Any hopes they might eventually hit their mark were dashed when Covid-19 swept through the country in 2020, tipping Japan into recession.