Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Maelanga paid tribute and conveyed sincere condolences to the family of the former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on behalf of the Government and People of Solomon Islands in Tokyo.
Hon. Maelanga represented Solomon Islands alongside thousands of attendees, including representatives from over 217 countries, territories and international organizations at the state funeral for the former Prime Minister on Tuesday (27 September).
The Deputy Prime Minister described late Abe as a great world leader and one of Japan’s greatest leaders that contributed immensely to peace and development of developing countries including Solomon Islands.
Hon. Maelanga’s attendance respectfully symbolizes the close friendship between the Solomon Islands and Japan. The two countries have a special and historic relationship since World War II. That relationship continues to grow through enhanced cooperation in development and people to people relations.
“I represent the government and people of Solomon Islands with a heavy heart to convey our deepest condolences to the family and the people and government of Japan as we farewell a great leader,” Maelanga said after laying flowers of condolences.
Around 6,000 overseas and domestic dignitaries attended the funeral service at Nippon Budokan in Central Tokyo including past and present leaders of Japan’s legislative, judicial and administrative branches of power, as well as various representatives from each branch, past and present members of parliament, local government representatives, foreign dignitaries, and national business and community leaders.
The memorial service lasted approximately one and half hours — about half the length of the memorial service held for Shigeru Yoshida in 1965, the last time a former prime minister was honored with a state funeral.
Funeral attendees listened to a speech given by Matsuno, the deputy chair of the funeral committee followed by the national anthem of Japan before observing a moment’s silence.
Other commemorative speeches were made by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as chair of the funeral committee, Hiroyuki Hosoda, speaker of the House of Representatives; Hidehisa Otsuji, speaker of the House of Councilors; Saburo Tokura, chief justice of the Supreme Court; and finally former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as a representative of Abe’s closest colleagues.
In line with tradition, Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko did not attend the funeral, and their imperial envoys paid their respects at the altar instead.
Other members of the imperial family, including Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, laid flowers of condolence, followed by other attendees, including members of the bereaved family.
The ceremony ended with the sending off of Abe’s remains and the laying of commemorative wreaths.
Hon Maelanga and his three member delegation are expected to leave Tokyo on Wednesday 28 September.
George Herming Director of Government Communications Unit in Japan