TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will spend about 1.65 billion yen ($12 million) on a planned state funeral for former prime minister Shinzo Abe, according to a new government estimate on Tuesday that includes security and reception costs.
In late August, the government passed a more modest budget of 250 million yen for the funeral, but later faced criticism for what was deemed an unrealistic figure that excluded large expenditures on security and VIP accommodation.
The government now estimates the security fee for the funeral will reach around 800 million yen, while hosting foreign delegations will cost around 600 million yen, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announced.
About 6,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony, which will be held on September 27 at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan hall. Abe was shot dead during an election rally in July.
Opposition to a taxpayer-funded service for Abe, Japan’s longest-serving but deeply divisive prime minister, persisted, exacerbated by revelations of his and other ruling party members’ ties to the controversial Unification Church. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s approval ratings have plummeted.
“We decided to give this estimate in line with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s attempt to clarify the details” of the state funeral, Matsuno said.
Abe’s alleged killer told prosecutors he held a grudge against the religious organization, known for its mass weddings and aggressive fundraising tactics, and believed Abe had connections to the group, local media reported.
A Yomiuri newspaper poll this month showed that 56% of respondents are opposed to the state funeral, compared with 38% in favor.
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami)