We oppose state funeral for former Primer Minister Abe and demand retraction of cabinet decision

July 25, 2022
Tsuyoshi Masuda
Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions

The Kishida Cabinet on July 22, 2022, decided to hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who passed away on July 8. The cabinet decision was unilaterally made without any discussion in the Diet in disregard of opposition raised by opposition parties and the public.

The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions opposes the state funeral plan and demands retraction of the cabinet decision.

Although Japan had a state funeral law in the past, it was revoked in the wake of the enactment of the Japanese Constitution, which guarantees the separation of politics and religion as well as the freedom of thought and conscience. Therefore, there is no legal basis for conducting a state funeral. To force something that has no legal grounds without parliamentary debate is the denial of democracy.

As reasons for holding a state funeral for the former prime minister, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that Abe was the longest-serving head of the state and his achievements were outstanding. However, under the Abe administration, its “Abenomics” economic policy exacerbated poverty and income gaps. It forcibly enacted the national security legislation, approved Japan’s use of the right to collective self-defense, destroyed democracy by falsifying official documents, and appropriated policies for his own personal benefit as symbolized by “cherry blossom-viewing parties,” “Moritomo Gakuen” and “Kake Gakuen” scandals. As a result, many citizens had suspicion of and criticized the Abe administration.

Everyone has a different opinion of the policies promoted by the former prime minister, and it is up to each person to decide whether and how to show their condolences to him. Holding a state funeral could lead to forcing the public to offer condolences to him, which is contrary to the freedom of thought and conscience guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution.

The government plans to fully fund a state funeral. At a time when poverty is rapidly increasing under the covid-19 pandemic and high prices are straining people’s livelihoods, massive tax money should not be spent on the funeral of a parliamentarian belonging to a certain political party.

While we express our condolences to former Prime Minister Abe whose life was taken by unilateral violence, we firmly oppose the holding of his state funeral, which could lead to defying him and affirming his policies.