Japan will hold a state funeral for assassinated former prime minister Shinzo Abe on September 27, the government announced Friday, with foreign leaders expected to join in.
The ceremony will be held at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan, a huge set that has hosted concerts and sports events, and was utilized for Japan’s last state funeral for a former prime minister in 1967.
Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said Abe’s record as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, his “truly praiseworthy” accomplishments, and his ties with foreign leaders made a state funeral appropriate.
“We will also accept foreign dignitaries, and countries we have diplomatic relationships with will be informed of details,” he added.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last week that Abe, 67, would be given a state funeral in acknowledgment of being Japan’s longest-serving prime minister as well as his contributions to Japan and the world.
The last such state funeral for a former prime minister, in which the government bears full expenses for the ceremony, was held in 1967 for ex-premier Shigeru Yoshida. Costs for later funerals were borne half by the state and half by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
The issue has set off debate all through Japan, with opponents objecting to the utilization of tax cash and others saying the LDP is utilizing Abe’s death.
An opinion poll conducted at the end of the week by open broadcaster NHK viewed 49% of respondents for the thought and 38% against it.
Those aged 18-39 were most in favor, at 61%, while those in their 60s were most against at 51%.
Abe was gunned down on the campaign trail on July 8 in the western city of Nara. His accused killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, is in custody and reportedly targeted Abe on the grounds that he accepted the former leader was linked to the Unification Church.
Yamagami’s mom is reported to have made large donations to the church, which her child blamed for the family’s financial difficulties.
A small private funeral for Abe was held at a temple in Tokyo soon after his death, with thousands of individuals gathering outside to lay flowers and proposition regards.
The September ceremony will be just the second state funeral for a former prime minister in post-war Japan, after that of Shigeru Yoshida, who led the country following World War II.
Matsuno said the event would be “non-denominational, simple and sombre”, adding that expenses were all the while being studied.
The plan faces some pushback, with opposition parties questioning spending public cash on an event for a political leader.
A group of activists has asked a Tokyo court to issue an injunction stopping the funeral, however, the government has said it doesn’t see the event as pushing a political position on the general population.
Abe was Japan’s most popular politician, keeping a prominent place in public life even subsequent to leaving in 2020 for health reasons.
Yet, he was likewise a divisive figure who confronted cronyism allegations and was criticized for his staunch nationalist views.
The funeral will be held at the Nippon Budokan, an arena initially built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games that has since been a famous setting for sports events and concerts. It is likewise the site for a memorial service for World War Two dead held consistently on Aug. 15.