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With flowers and a gun salute, Japan bids farewell to divisive Abe

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Reuters UK

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Trevor Hunnicutt TOKYO (Reuters) – With flowers, prayers and a 19-gun salute, Japan honoured slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday at the first state funeral for a former premier in 55 years – a ceremony that has become as controversial as he was in life. The ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. (0500 GMT), with Abe’s ashes carried into the Nippon Budokan Hall in central Tokyo by his widow, Akie, to music from a military band and the booms of the honour-guard salute, which echoed inside the hall. Thousands of mourners flooded to designated spots near the venue from…

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