Japan PM Kishida defends Abe’s state funeral amid criticism
Tokyo, Sep 8 (EFE).- Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Thursday again defended his decision to hold a state-funded funeral for Shinzo Abe as “appropriate” given his achievements during the longest-serving term in postwar Japan.
Kishida appeared at a parliamentary session to justify holding the event, scheduled to be held on Sep.27 at an estimated cost of ¥1.6 billion.
Both the opposition and a large section of Japanese have expressed their objection to a funeral paid for by state funds.
Kishida said the government “needs” to hold a state funeral to offer condolences at a national level.
In a press conference held earlier, top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said the Japanese executive had taken into account the condolence messages conveyed by dignitaries from several countries while making a decision to hold a state funeral.
United States Vice President Kamala Harris, European Council President Charles Michel and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese are among those expected to attend the funeral.
“We have judged it appropriate to hold it as an official event and welcome representatives from abroad,” Matsuno said.
Kishida’s decision to hold a state funeral for Abe has been questioned within the country not only because it will be paid for by state funds, but also because the former prime minister was a polarizing figure and plagued by several scandals during his last years in office.
Abe’s will be the second fully state-funded funeral for a prime minister in postwar Japan since Shigeru Yoshida’s in 1967.
Abe’s family already held a private funeral at Tokyo’s Zojoji Buddhist temple in July that drew thousands of residents to the area, as well as members of his party, the opposition and diplomats.
Abe died aged 67 after being shot on July 8 while giving a speech in the city of Nara during an election campaign. EFE