Taipei, July 25 (CNA) Taiwan’s government has received an official notification from Japan on the upcoming state funeral of assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and is currently making preparations to attend the event, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Monday.
“Our government will continue to be in close talks with Tokyo and is currently making arrangements and preparations to attend,” MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told CNA, adding that more details will be announced later.
She did not reveal who will represent Taiwan at the funeral.
Ou made the comments when asked about Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi’s statements on Friday that Tokyo will inform Taiwan of the schedule for the Sept. 27 state funeral, despite the lack of official diplomatic relations between both sides.
When asked if Taiwan will be invited to Abe’s state funeral, Hayashi said the government would convey the state funeral’s schedule to its diplomatic allies as well as to “Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Palestine and other NGOs” that sent condolences following Abe’s death.
Japanese media reported over the weekend that Tokyo is ramping up preparations for “funeral diplomacy” as dignitaries from around the world are expected to visit the country for Abe’s state funeral, to be held at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo.
A team of about 30 officials from the Foreign Ministry’s preparatory office will work on arranging a series of meetings between world leaders and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other Cabinet officials on the occasion of Abe’s funeral, reports said.
Abe, the longest-serving prime minister in Japan, died on July 8 at the age of 67, after he was shot twice that morning while giving a campaign speech on a street in Nara City.
Police subsequently arrested a 41-year-old male suspect, who had allegedly shot Abe with a homemade shotgun at the campaign event for the Diet’s upper house elections, which were held on July 10.
A private funeral service for Abe on July 12 at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo was attended by Taiwan’s Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in a private capacity, other foreign dignitaries, and Abe’s family members and close acquaintances.
Lai’s trip to Japan for the private funeral made him Taiwan’s second sitting vice president to visit that country since 1972, when Tokyo severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing.
Former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who died in 2020, made a one-night stopover in Tokyo on his return to Taiwan from a tour of Taiwan’s Central and South American allies in March 1985, when he was vice president.
Abe was seen as a vocal supporter of Taiwan, and he helped strengthen Japan-Taiwan relations during his tenure as prime minister and after leaving public office.
On July 11, national flags at all Taiwan government agencies and public schools were flown at half-mast in a show of mourning and respect for Abe.