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Japan Government To Hold State Funeral for Former PM Shinzo Abe on 27 September

Shinzo Abe's state funeral will be the second ceremony fully funded by the state for a former prime minister.

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The Japanese government on Friday, 22 July, announced that a state funeral will be held for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 27 September. The ceremony will be held at the Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo, reported news agency Reuters.

While addressing a press conference on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that funeral will be fully paid for by state funds likely to be taken from the budget reserve.

Former PM Shinzo Abe died at the age of 67 after he was shot earlier this month on 8 July, in the city of Nara. Abe was shot from behind while delivering a speech at an event ahead of the country's Upper House elections.

Abe was the longest-serving prime minister of Japan.

A funeral ceremony, which was open to family, close friends, and select lawmakers, was held on 12 July.

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Decision Faces Criticism

"We made this decision, as has been said before, due to Abe's record as the longest-serving prime minister, during which he exerted leadership skills distinctive from others and bore heavy responsibility for dealing with a number of serious domestic and international issues," said Matsuno.

Abe's state funeral will be the second ceremony fully funded by the state for a former prime minister.

The government's decision to hold a state funeral for Shinzo Abe has trigged discontent among some activists. Around 50 people filed for an injunction in a Tokyo court seeking to halt the use of public fund for the funeral, the report added.

The decision also faced criticism as many commentators have labelled Abe as a 'divisive' and a 'right-wing nationalist' leader.

Many also took to social media calling out the government for state funeral in the view of recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan.

(With inputs from Reuters.)

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