Why a state funeral for slain ex-PM is controversial

Veröffentlich am: 28.09.2022, 12:51 Uhr
Why a state funeral for slain ex-PM is controversial


A week ago, the global "great and good" were gathered in London for the state funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Now many of them are heading to the other side of the world for another state funeral - for Japan's slain former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

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But the Japanese, it appears, are not thrilled about it - not least because it's estimated to cost $11.4m (1.65bn yen; £10.1m).

In the last few weeks opposition to the state funeral has been growing. Polls suggest more than half of the country's population is now against holding it.

Earlier this week, a man set himself on fire near the prime minister's office in Tokyo. And on Monday around 10,000 protestors marched through the streets of the capital demanding the funeral be called off.

But, on the other hand, the event is drawing Japan's allies from across the globe. US President Joe Biden will not attend, but his vice-president Kamala Harris will. Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong is coming.

So is Australian PM Anthony Albanese, along with three of his predecessors. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipped the Queen's funeral but is flying to Tokyo to pay his respects to Abe.

What does it say about Abe that - even as world leaders gather for his funeral - many in his own country are opposed to it?

First off, this is not a normal event. In Japan, state funerals are reserved for members of the Imperial Family. Only once, since World War Two, has a politician been given this honour, and that was all the way back in 1967. So, the fact that Abe is being given a state funeral is a big deal.