Japan spends $1.83 million on ex-Prime Minister Abe’s state funeral | Business and economic news

Opinion polls show that the majority of Japanese are against a state funeral for the longest-serving prime minister.

Japan will spend $1.83 million on a state funeral for slain former leader Shinzo Abe, the government has said, despite growing opposition from a public furious with revelations about the ruling party’s ties to the Unification Church.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving but divisive prime minister, was shot dead during an election rally on July 8, and although funeral services were held shortly after, Japan has decided to hold a state funeral on September 27 at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo.

The government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a protégé of Abe, decided that the state funeral would be paid for from state resources only and confirmed the estimated cost on Friday.

But opinion polls show continued resistance to the idea. In the latest, published Sunday, 53 percent of respondents opposed a state funeral.

The public is outraged by revelations about ties between the ruling party and the Unification Church, which a vast majority of poll respondents say have not been fully explained and have become a major headache for Kishida, causing his support rates to drop.

Founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass weddings, the church has faced questions over the years about how it solicits donations.

Abe’s suspected killer, who was arrested at the scene moments after the shooting, held a grudge against the church, claiming that his mother had gone bankrupt. According to his social media posts and news reports, he blamed Abe for promoting it.

The man is being examined psychiatrically, media report.

The last fully state-funded funeral of a prime minister was for Shigeru Yoshida in 1967. Subsequent funerals were paid for by both the state and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), of which Abe was an influential member.

Several current and former world leaders are expected to attend, and arrangements are being made for former US President Barack Obama to participate, according to news reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend, the Kremlin said in July.

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