The Washington Post
Sept. 27 state funeral planned for Shinzo Abe
Japan is looking to hold a state funeral on Sept. 27 to honor former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated this month, Japanese news outlets reported Wednesday.
The event is expected to be a major gathering of current and former world leaders. Abe worked to increase Japan’s image and influence globally, and was the country’s longest-serving and most recognizable leader of the modern era.
Arrangements for a state funeral have sparked mixed reactions and criticisms of whether taxpayer money should be spent on the event, particularly for a leader who was domestically divisive.
It would be the second state funeral in postwar Japan since the 1967 death of Shigeru Yoshida and a break from past practice, in which ceremonies for former leaders have been jointly funded by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese cabinet. A state funeral would be fully taxpayer-funded.
Abe was killed July 8 after a man armed with a homemade weapon fired twice at him at a rally in Nara, near Osaka, ahead of this month’s upper house election.
The suspect, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, told law enforcement that he had a grudge against Abe and believed the former leader was connected to a religious organization to which Yamagami’s mother had donated much of her money. Later, the Unification Church confirmed his mother was a member.
Yamagami sent a letter to a critic of the Unification Church, which had long courted conservative leaders in Japan and elsewhere, declaring his intention to kill Abe, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported. He had multiple homemade guns in his home, police said.