February 21, 2024

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Japanese government approves date for Abe’s state funeral, plan sparks protests

Japanese government approves date for Abe's state funeral, plan sparks protests

A mourner presents flowers next to a portrait of late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, on the day marking one week since his assassination at the headquarters of the Liberal Democratic Party, in Tokyo, Japan on July 15. , 2022. REUTERS/Issa Kato

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government said on Friday it would hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sept. 27, amid street and social media protests that the country should not fund Japan’s longer-serving celebrations. , but divisive, Prime Minister.

Abe, prime minister for more than eight years over two terms and with great influence in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, even after leaving office, was shot dead two weeks ago at an election rally, the incident that hardly shocked Japan. Read more

His funeral was held soon after, but on Friday the Cabinet decided that a state funeral would be held on September 27 in Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo.

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“We made this decision, as was said before, given Abe’s record as the longest serving prime minister, during which he exercised leadership skills distinct from others and assumed great responsibility in dealing with a number of serious domestic and international issues,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a conference. Friday press.

He said that the funeral costs will be paid in full from state funds likely to be taken from the budget reserve.

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The last state funeral for a former prime minister was paid entirely with state funds in 1967, with the state partly paying for consecutive funerals and partly the LDP.

The current plan has raised growing concern. About 200 people gathered near the prime minister’s office in Tokyo to protest the decision, according to Kyodo News, and objections on social media ranged from the use of taxpayer money, to complaints that the government might seek to make political capital for Abe’s death and cement. his legacy.

On Thursday, 50 people filed an injunction in a Tokyo court demanding a halt to the use of public funds for the event, saying that further discussions should have taken place before a decision was made.

Only 49% supported the idea of ​​a state funeral in a public opinion poll conducted by public broadcaster NHK, and the topic was popular on social media on Friday.

On Twitter, a user under the tag Yuki no Imogai wrote, “(Prime Minister Fumio) Kishida always brags that he listens to people, so why not do it now?”

Others compared the plan to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with new cases rising to record levels in Japan this week. Read more

“Since they do almost nothing about the pandemic, how were they able to determine this so quickly?” Twitter user “Heron” posted.

“Take the money you’re going to use at the funeral and do something about the coronavirus.”

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(covering by Yoshifumi Takemoto and Elaine Lies) Writing by Chang Ran Kim and Elaine Lies; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.