TOKYO, Sep 27 (AFP) - Japan began a controversial state funeral for assassinated former prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (Sep 27), with his widow Akie carrying his ashes into a Tokyo hall where thousands of mourners gathered.

Dressed in a black kimono, Akie carried the ashes in a box covered with a decorative fabric into the Budokan venue as a 19-gun salute sounded in honour of the slain ex-premier.