Japan ex-PM Abe’s state funeral to cost over $12 million
TOKYO — Japan will spend about 1.65 billion yen ($12 million) on the state funeral planned for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to the government’s new estimate on Tuesday that includes security and reception costs.
The government in late August approved a more modest budget of 250 million yen for the funeral but then faced criticism for what was deemed an unrealistic figure that excluded hefty outlays for the security and hosting of VIPs.
Some 6,000 guests including foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony, to be held on Sept. 27 at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan hall. Abe was shot to death during an election rally in July.
Opposition to a taxpayer-funded service for Abe, Japan’s longest-serving but deeply divisive premier, has persisted, exacerbated by revelations of his and other ruling party members’ links to the controversial Unification Church. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s approval ratings have fallen in tandem.
Abe’s suspected killer told prosecutors he held a grudge against the religious organisation, known for its mass weddings and aggressive fund-raising tactics, and he believed Abe had connections to the group, local media have reported.
A Yomiuri newspaper poll conducted earlier this month showed 56% of respondents opposing the state funeral, compared with 38% in favour.
($1 = 140.3700 yen)
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