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Asia Minute: Plans for a state funeral for Abe stir controversy in Japan

Japan Shinzo Abe
Rodrigo Reyes Marin/AP
The portrait of former Primer Minister Shinzo Abe is on display in the conference room where the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) answered questions from journalists at the party's headquarters in Tokyo Monday, July 11, 2022. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)

Last week’s death of Queen Elizabeth II dominated news coverage around the world. But funeral arrangements for another former world leader are causing controversy in one Asian nation.

Two weeks from Tuesday, the government of Japan is scheduled to hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It’s been a little more than two months since Japan, along with the rest of the world, was shocked by Abe's assassination.

Within a week, current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans for a state funeral, saying it would show “determination not to bend to violence and to firmly uphold democracy.”

The cost for the event was originally estimated at a little less than $2 million but has now ballooned to nearly six times that amount.

That alone has sparked some public outcry.

Now links have emerged between a growing number of members of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the South Korean-based Unification Church.

The man charged with Abe's shooting blamed contributions to that church for bankrupting his family.

Prime Minister Kishida has faced increasing questions about the funeral, including calls to cancel it.

World leaders who have said they will come range from the prime ministers of India, Canada, Singapore and Australia to the president of Vietnam.

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to attend — and after the event, she'll meet with South Korea’s President during a stop in Seoul.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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