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July 12 2022 Shinzo Abe funeral news

(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)