Demonstrators marched on Japan’s parliament yesterday to protest against the state funeral of Shinzo Abe, while tens of thousands of supporters queued nearby to honour one of the country’s most powerful and divisive leaders since the second world war.
After an initial period of shock and public grief that followed Abe’s assassination in early July, the government’s decision to hold a ¥1.6bn ($11mn) funeral sparked a public outcry and a sharp fall in popularity for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
In a ceremony held at Tokyo’s Budokan arena, Kishida spoke in front of more than 4,000 guests including world leaders, Japanese politicians, business figures and members of the imperial family.
Among the foreign dignitaries in attendance were US vice-president Kamala Harris, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese and UK foreign secretary James Cleverly.
What do you think about Japan’s decision to hold a $11mn state funeral for former prime minister Shinzo Abe? Tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here is the rest of the day’s news — Emily
Five more stories in the news
1. IMF urges UK to ‘re-evaluate’ tax cuts The IMF has launched a biting attack on the UK’s plan to implement £45bn of debt-funded tax cuts, warning the “untargeted” package threatens to stoke soaring inflation. The multilateral lender said it was “engaged with the authorities” since the tax cuts were unveiled last week, sparking a collapse in the value of sterling and a spike in the country’s borrowing costs.
2. Sabotage warnings surface after Nord Stream leaks Danish, German and Polish officials have signalled that suspicious leaks on two Russian gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are highly likely to be the result of sabotage, heightening concerns over the vulnerability of Europe’s energy infrastructure.
Russian-held referendum results: Voters in four Russian-occupied provinces of southern and eastern Ukraine overwhelmingly agreed to their regions joining Russia in referendums regarded as sham votes by Kyiv and its western partners.
3. Renminbi falls against dollar despite new support measures The renminbi lost further ground against the dollar yesterday, putting pressure on China’s central bank to deploy significant foreign exchange reserves for the first time since 2017. The renminbi’s fall of 11.5 per cent year to date to trade at Rmb7.1631 against the dollar has come as a result of widening policy divergence between a hawkish US Federal Reserve and dovish China.
China economy news: China’s economic output will lag behind the rest of Asia for the first time since 1990, according to new World Bank forecasts.
4. SoftBank-backed Grab targets first profit Grab, one of south-east Asia’s biggest tech groups valued at $10.8bn, said the 10-year-old business would be profitable by 2024, even as growth slows against mounting global recession fears and rising inflation.
5. Do Kwon says he is not hiding as crypto manhunt intensifies The co-founder of collapsed cryptocurrency operator Terraform Labs said he is not in hiding after Interpol issued a red notice against him. Do Kwon has remained active on social media, writing Twitter on Monday that he was making “zero effort to hide. I go on walks and malls”, as the threat of prison hangs over him in South Korea
The day ahead
Bank of Japan minutes The central bank will publish the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting when Japan intervened to strengthen the yen for the first time in 24 years.
US-Pacific Island Country summit President Joe Biden will host the first ever US-Pacific Island summit today in Washington, where the US will continue its efforts to counter China’s influence in the region. (Politico)
What else we’re reading
The cost of China’s information vacuum Global expertise about the country accumulated by scholars, diplomats and businesspeople has become more important than ever — yet many of those sources are now running dry as censorship has been tightened and access for foreigners has been sharply restricted.
‘Sense of crisis’ grips South Korea chip industry, warns minister There is growing fear among Korean officials and industry executives that the country will shed production facilities as domestic chipmakers, lured by subsidies and tax incentives, rush to build semiconductor plants in the US. Generous state funding is also allowing China to catch up fast in the memory chip sector.
Russians run and hide from Putin’s zealous draft officials Nearly a week after President Vladimir Putin announced the “partial” mobilisation of army reservists to bolster his forces in Ukraine, tens of thousands of Russians are refusing to enlist. In the face of the civil disobedience, the Kremlin is faced with a dilemma: should it crack down on the dissenters or backtrack?
China’s Nio warns energy crisis slowing European expansion William Li, the group’s founder and chief executive, said that soaring energy costs are impeding the company’s rollout of battery swapping stations across Europe. In contrast to rival carmakers that rely on recharging their batteries, Nio uses a system of swap stations in which batteries are replaced in a process that takes just minutes.
Two arrested on fraud charges linked to ‘$100mn deli’ in New Jersey A New Jersey sandwich shop which became a symbol of stock market exuberance was at the centre of an international conspiracy that defrauded investors and wrecked the ambitions of two high schoolteachers, according to an indictment unsealed in US federal court.
Cocktails in Tokyo
FT Globetrotter is celebrating all things Tokyo this autumn, and would love to hear from you. Share your favourite place to drink cocktails in the Japanese capital, including what to drink there, when to go and why it is so great. The best answers will be published in FT Globetrotter soon.
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