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PM Lee to attend state funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe

Other world leaders who have confirmed their attendance include US Vice President Kamala Harris and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

PM Lee to attend state funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest serving prime minister, was shot on the campaign trail in July. (File photo: AFP/Sam Yeh)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will attend the state funeral of Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said on Friday (Sep 9) in response to media queries.

Mr Abe was fatally shot during an election rally on Jul 8.

About 6,000 guests including foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony for Japan's longest-serving premier, which will be held on Sep 27 at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan hall.

Other world leaders who have confirmed their attendance include US Vice President Kamala Harris and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Japanese officials said in late August that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was planning to attend the event.

A representative from Taiwan will also be there, although the government is still discussing who it will send.

China has not announced who it will send, or if it will send anyone. The Kremlin previously said in July that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the funeral.

Japan is expected to spend about ¥1.65 billion (US$12 million) on the state funeral, according to the government's new estimate that includes security and reception costs.

The Japanese government had earlier approved a budget of US$1.83 million for the funeral but faced criticism for what was deemed an unrealistic figure that excluded hefty outlays for the security and hosting of VIPs.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's decision to hold a state funeral has resulted in widespread public opposition, largely due to revelations of ties between the ruling party and the Unification Church.

The church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass weddings, has over the years faced questions over how it solicits donations.

The suspect involved in Mr Abe’s assassination had alleged that his mother was bankrupted by the church and blamed the former prime minister for promoting it.

A majority of members of the Japanese public feel that links between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the church have not been adequately explained.

A public opinion poll saw disapproval of Mr Kishida's Cabinet edging above 40 per cent for the first time, over doubts on whether his ruling party would be free of ties to the church.

Source: CNA/ng(ac)
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