Highlights

  • Japan man sets himself on fire in apparent protest to Abe’s state funeral
  • The incident occurred outside Japanese prime minister's office
  • Abe's memorial service scheduled to take place on Sep 27

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'Personally, I am absolutely against': Japan man sets self alight to oppose Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

The man, believed to be in his 70s, sustained burns on large parts of his body but was conscious

A man set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister's office in Tokyo early Wednesday in apparent protest against the state funeral planned next week for former leader Shinzo Abe, officials and media reports said.

The man, believed to be in his 70s, sustained burns on large parts of his body but was conscious and told police that he set himself on fire after pouring oil over him, Kyodo News agency reported.

The man was taken to a hospital.

A note apparently written by the man was found with him that said, "Personally, I am absolutely against" Abe's funeral, Kyodo said.

The plan, announced by Kishida a week after his death has since increasingly become unpopular as more details of Abe's apparent link to a controversial South Korean church have surfaced after the suspect told police that was his motive.

Media surveys show opposition exceeded support for spending tax money for Abe, one of most divisive leaders in postwar history.

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The governing Liberal Democratic Party has said nearly half its lawmakers have ties to the church, which experts say urges Japanese followers to make large donations to make amends for their ancestral sins, including Japan's past colonialization of the Korean Peninsula.

The suspect in Abe's assassination reportedly believed his mother's donations to the church ruined his family built close ties with LDP lawmakers over shared interests in conservative causes, including opposing Communism.

Abe's grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, helped found the church's political unit in Tokyo in 1968.

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