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Kishida to explain decision on Abe state funeral at Wednesday news conference

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to hold a news conference Wednesday to explain his decision to hold a controversial state funeral next month for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the top government spokesman said.
Kishida, who has been working remotely from his official residence since he was found to be infected with the novel coronavirus on Aug. 21, is scheduled to resume normal working on Wednesday.
"The prime minister wants to explain (his decision) using various occasions," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno at a regular news conference Tuesday, when asked whether Kishida would attend parliamentary committee sessions regarding the state funeral as requested by the main opposition party.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan on Monday urged the prime minister to attend the sessions to explain the grounds for holding the Sept 27 event, as the public is split over his decision given Abe's divisive political legacy and scandals.
Parliament's last session ended in early August, but even if it is not in session important issues can be debated by parliamentary committees.
Kishida announced on July 14 his decision to hold a state funeral for Abe, who was fatally shot by a lone gunman on July 8 while giving an election campaign speech in the western city of Nara.
The government has allocated 249 million yen of taxpayers' money for the state funeral at an indoor arena in Tokyo.
The amount does not include expenditures for security and welcoming foreign dignitaries, and Matsuno said the government plans to present those figures after the state funeral is held.
A nationwide telephone poll conducted by Kyodo News earlier this month showed 56.0 percent remained unconvinced by Kishida's explanation for why it was appropriate to hold a state funeral for Abe, against 42.5 percent who said they accepted it.
Reflecting the divide, the government said it no longer plans to ask ministries and agencies to hoist flags of mourning or hold a moment of silence.
The ruling and opposition camps agreed on Aug. 5 to hold discussions on the matter during a parliamentary committee session while the Diet remains closed.


© KYODO
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