Abe's state funeral to cost ?250 million

The controversial state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next month is going to cost the Japanese government around 250 million yen, government sources said Thursday.
The amount, to be approved by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's cabinet as early as Friday, is expected to include costs for renting the venue, the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo, and COVID-19 precautions, according to the sources.
The price tag, which does not include the costs of security around the venue by police for the Sept 27 event, will be fully drawn from reserve funds of the government's fiscal 2022 budget through next March, the sources said.
Opposition parties are likely to scrutinize the spending as it is significantly higher than when the government spent some 96 million yen for a 2020 funeral for former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone hosted jointly with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Public opinion has been divided on holding the state funeral for Abe, who has fatally shot during a July 8 campaign stump speech in the western city of Nara.
The government, which is expected to compile the outline of the event, plans to invite up to 6,400 people, exceeding around 6,000 people who took part in the most recent state funeral for former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida in 1967.
The funeral for Yoshida, who led Japan as it rose from the ashes of World War II, is the only state funeral held so far in postwar Japan. Past funeral services for former prime ministers who belonged to the LDP were jointly hosted by the government and the party.
The opposition camp has claimed there are no legal provisions for holding a state funeral, while calling for further parliamentary debate because the public is divided over Abe's political legacy, accomplishments and the scandals in which he became embroiled.
An Aug 10-11 nationwide telephone poll conducted by Kyodo News showed 56.0 percent were unconvinced by Kishida's explanation for why it is appropriate to hold a state funeral for Abe, while 42.5 percent said they accepted it.
Kishida expressed in July his intention to hold a state funeral for the former leader, citing his record eight years and eight months as prime minister as well as the significant recognition he garnered in the international community.
Key foreign figures planning to attend the funeral include former U.S. President Barack Obama, current U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and French President Emmanuel Macron.
As part of efforts to beef up security and prevent terrorist attacks using aircraft, Japan's transport ministry said Thursday it will set up a no-fly zone for areas within a 46-kilometer radius of Nippon Budokan.
Regular flights departing from or arriving to Tokyo's Haneda airport and Narita airport near Tokyo will not be subject to the three-day restriction from Sept 26, according to the ministry.

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