Kishida opens diplomacy rush as Japan preps divisive funeral

Sep 25, 2022, 12:43 PM | Updated: Sep 26, 2022, 3:17 am
A police officer patrols near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Ministe...

A police officer patrols near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

              A police officer patrols near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              People go through a gate as they walk towards the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A security officer stands guard as workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Vice President of Indonesia Ma'ruf Amin, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to the Japan-Indonesia bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to the Japan-Vietnam bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Police officers maintain a checkpoint as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up security for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A man walks by a police officer standing guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer stands guard at the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer stands guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands before the Japan-USA bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace state guest house in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              A police officer patrols near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              People go through a gate as they walk towards the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A security officer stands guard as workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Vice President of Indonesia Ma'ruf Amin, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to the Japan-Indonesia bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to the Japan-Vietnam bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Police officers maintain a checkpoint as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up security for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A man walks by a police officer standing guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer stands guard at the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer stands guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands before the Japan-USA bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace state guest house in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to the Japan-Vietnam bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              A police officer stands guard at the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer patrols near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              People go through a gate as they walk towards the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Police officers maintain a checkpoint as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up security for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A man walks by a police officer standing guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A security officer stands guard as workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer stands guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Vice President of Indonesia Ma'ruf Amin, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to the Japan-Indonesia bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to the Japan-Vietnam bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte, left, is welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              A police officer stands guard at the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer patrols near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              People go through a gate as they walk towards the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Police officers maintain a checkpoint as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up security for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A man walks by a police officer standing guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A security officer stands guard as workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Workers set up an area for books of condolences near the building to be used for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              A police officer stands guard near where the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to be held as authorities have deployed extra officers to beef up securities in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting the controversial state-sponsored ceremony for the former leader Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
            
              Vice President of Indonesia Ma'ruf Amin, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to the Japan-Indonesia bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Former President of Switzerland Mr. Didier Burkhalter, left, meets with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              United Republic of Tanzania Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to the Japan-Tanzania summit meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Tokyo. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Gabon Prime Minister Osca Laponda and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to the Japan-Gabon Summit Meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022 in Tokyo. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Dr. Fatih Birol, left, poses with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Birol is visiting Japan within the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that will be held on September 27, in the capital of Japan. (David Mareuil/Pool via AP)
            
              Former President of Switzerland Mr. Didier Burkhalter, left, poses with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              President of the Parliament of Estonia Juri Ratas, left, poses with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to their bilateral meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Tokyo. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ionel Ciuca, right, and Romanian Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu, left, pose with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prior to the Japan-Romania Summit Meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Tokyo. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, pose for the photographers prior to their bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a series of meetings with foreign dignitaries Monday in what he’s called “funeral diplomacy” the day before he hosts a controversial state-sponsored ceremony for former leader Shinzo Abe.

Kishida has been criticized for pushing for Tuesday’s formal state funeral for Abe, who was assassinated in July, amid questions over their governing party’s close ties with the Unification Church, accused of brainwashing its adherents, and doubts over the legitimacy of a state event with links to pre-World War II imperial Japan.

Kishida says the honor is fitting for the longest-serving leader in Japan’s modern political history. He has also said it will allow him to meet personally with visiting foreign leaders and forge stronger ties at a time where Japan faces a host of urgent issues in northeast Asia and the world, from Chinese and North Korean military threats to worries over regional economic and security matters.

In a rush of planned meetings, Kishida was to hold talks with about 40 foreign dignitaries over the next few days at the Akasaka state guest house in Tokyo.

Kishida met on Monday with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte and about 10 other foreign dignitaries.

Kishida told Harris that Abe “poured his heart and soul” into strengthening ties between their two countries.

“I feel it is my duty to carry on his aspirations,” Kishida said.

Harris said that “the alliance between Japan and the United States is a cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

On Tuesday, he is to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

China, a sometimes harsh critic of what it saw as the conservative Abe’s moves to expand Japan’s military and whitewash history, will send former Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, whose title is sufficiently politically neutral as to raise few eyebrows. He is also the head of the China Zhiong Party, one of eight figurehead bodies tasked with advising the ruling Communist Party and giving China the veneer of a multiparty system.

Wan is also a ranking member of the legislature’s toothless advisory body, with a specialty in the auto industry. Wan is not known to have had any connections to Japan, Japan’s parliament or the Abe family.

Other leaders from Group of Seven countries and many others who attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London last week won’t be at Abe’s funeral. South Korea is sending Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, who is to meet with Kishida on Wednesday.

Political watchers say holding a state funeral for Abe is an attempt by Kishida to stabilize his grip on power by placating governing Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers belonging to Abe’s conservative political faction.

Security around the Budokan martial arts arena, where the memorial will be held Tuesday, has been raised to high levels, with uniformed police officers patrolling the neighborhood with police dogs and stopping cars for inspections. They also poked inside manholes, and a group of police officers dived into a nearby moat for safety checks.

Travel on roads around the Budokan and the Akasaka guest house will be restricted through Wednesday, including about 10 hours on Tuesday, according to Tokyo police.

Police security has come under scrutiny after the police force was accused of not providing adequate protection for Abe when he was killed. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Monday that police have stepped up information gathering, analysis and protection measures ahead of the funeral.

“We will do our utmost for security and take all necessary steps so we can respond to any situation,” Matsuno said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Kishida opens diplomacy rush as Japan preps divisive funeral