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Man set himself on fire amid outcry over Shinzo Abe's state funeral plans

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euronews.com

A man set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister's office in Tokyo early Wednesday in a sign of protest against the state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe.

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 himself, Kyodo News agency reported.A note supposedly written by the man was found that said, "Personally, I am absolutely against" Abe's funeral.Tokyo authorities confirmed that the incident took place but refused to make further comments, including on a report that a police officer was caught in the fire.The suspected immolation underscores a growing wave of protests against the funeral for Abe, one of the most divisive leaders in postwar Japanese politics.

Abe has come under further public scrutiny because of his revisionist view of wartime history, security policies and his high-handed approach and cronyism, which were often criticised as autocratic.

More protests are expected in the coming days, including the day of the funeral next week.The incident also is an embarrassment for Japanese police, who have stepped up security for an event expected to be attended by about 6,000 people, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and other dignitaries.Japanese police were also partly blamed for insufficient protection of Abe, who was shot to death by a gunman who approached him from behind as he was giving a campaign speech outdoors in July.Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in New York for the annual UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders.

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