Members of the Japanese Imperial Family and foreign envoys were among the thousands to attend a national funeral for the former Japanese Prime Minister Mr.
Members of the Japanese Imperial Family and foreign envoys were among the thousands to attend a national funeral for the former Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Eisaku Sato in Tokyo on Monday (16 June).
Mr. Sato, 74, died of cerebral haemorrhage in hospital on June 3 after being in a coma for 51 days. A co-winner of the 1974 Nobel Peace prize, Mr. Sato was the longest serving Prime Minister of Japan since the war. He led the government for seven years and eight months during the time of its phenomenal economic growth in the nineteen-sixties.
At the funeral, his ashes were carried by his eldest son Ryutaro, flanked by Mrs. Eisaku Sato. Prime Minister Takeo Miki led the procession to the altar of the octagonal Budokan (Martial Arts Hall) to the accompaniment of a 19-gun salute.
In his funeral oration at the non-religious service, the Prime Minister, who was earlier knocked to the ground by a demonstrator, praised Mr. Sato's domestic and foreign policies.
Mr. Miki said the former premier promoted these policies on the basis of freedom and peace. He added that Mr. Sato also helped raise Japan's international position and the living standards of the Japanese people.
It was the first national or people's funeral to be held in the country. It ranks second in prestige only to a state funeral -- given only once since the war for the later former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida.
SYNOPSIS: At the Martial Arts Hall in Tokyo, Ryutaro Sato -- eldest son of the former Japanese Prime Minister, Eisaku Sato -- brought his father's ashes to the altar. He was flanked by his mother. The procession to the altar was led by prime Minister Takeo Miki. Foreign envoys were among the more than six thousand people to attend the national funeral on Monday.
Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko were also present. It was the first national funeral to be held in the country.
Mr. Sato, aged seventy-four, died of cerebral haemorrhage a fortnight ago. He was in a coma for fifteen days. Mr. Sato, who was a co-winner of the nineteen seventy-four Nobel Peace prize, was the longest serving Prime Minister of Japan since the war.
In his funeral oration, the Prime Minister, Mr. Miki, praised Mr. Sato's domestic and foreign policies which he said were promoted on the basis of freedom and peace. He also said Mr. Sato's policies helped raise Japan's international position and the living standard of the Japanese people.