Japan will spend about 1.65 billion yen (about $11.6 million) for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead in July, reports The Guardian. The funeral will take place on September 27th.
The initial amount announced by the government was substantially less - 250 million yen. But later it turned out that this did not include 800 million yen for security and 600 million yen for the accommodation of foreign dignitaries. More than 6,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, including Barack Obama, Kamala Harris and Emmanuel Macron. About 50 of the 190 overseas delegations will include VIPs "at the level of heads of state," said Chief Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.
Opposition representatives have criticized the new cost, which is more than six times the original figure. Ordinary Japanese do not welcome funerals at the highest level: during polls, 56% of respondents were against, and only 38% were in favor. Activists launched a petition with 400,000 signatures calling for the ceremony to be cancelled, and 4,000 people turned up at the parliament building last week to make the same announcement. The reasons for the dissatisfaction are the unwillingness to pay for the funeral from their taxes and the information that Abe was associated with the scandalous Unification Church.
During interrogations, the shooter of former prime minister Tetsuya Yamagami told police that he had targeted Abe because he supported the sect that led to the ruin of his family: the mother of the shooter donated 100 million yen to her for many years of commitment to the Church. Abe's grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, is known to have helped Moon's church advance in Japan, seeing it as a stronghold in the fight against the communists. The Unification Church also had close ties with members of the current Japanese government, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. After Abe's death, Kishida announced that he was severing ties with the Unification Church and apologized for influencing the public's loss of trust in politicians.