Hundreds of foreign dignitaries expected to attend state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Preparations are underway for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated on July 8.

The funeral, the second state funeral in Japan since World War II, is scheduled for September 27 at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

Abe, 67, was privately buried on July 12, days after he was murdered in the back by a man armed with a self-made gun.

A large number of international dignitaries are expected to attend the state funeral, which can accommodate up to 6,000 people. The Japanese government will decide the final number of attendees in early September.

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent invitations to approximately 80 international organizations in 195 countries and 4 regions, with a maximum of 3 people from each country and region and a maximum of 2 people from each international organization.

Although no criteria were set for the titles of attendees, most of the responses received were from officials at the head of state or ministerial level. Travel and accommodation expenses for foreign dignitaries shall be borne by each country.

A vehicle carrying the body leaves after the funeral of late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo on July 12, 2022. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to attend.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are also considering attending.

South Korea plans to send Prime Minister Han Duk-soo to attend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been barred from entering the country due to Ukraine’s aggression, will not attend.

Former President Donald Trump, who was close to Prime Minister Abe, has expressed a willingness to visit Japan, but the Japanese government has not sent invitations to individuals.

Kishida meets with foreign leaders

During the state funeral, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets with visiting foreign leaders.

A week after Ade’s death, Prime Minister Kishida said, “Holding a state funeral in memory of former Prime Minister Abe demonstrates Japan’s determination not to give in to violence and to uphold democracy.” .

The state funeral, fully funded by the government, was the only state funeral held for former Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who died in 1967.

According to Japan’s Meiji Constitution, state funerals should be held in Shinto style. Yoshida was a Christian, but the funeral was non-religious. Prime Minister Abe’s state funeral will also adopt a non-religious style.


Using taxpayer funds to pay for funerals has faced opposition in Japan, much of the criticism directed at Kishida.

An opinion poll conducted by Japan’s Kyodo News on July 30-31 found that 45.1% of respondents were in favor of a state funeral, while 53.3% opposed it.

A move to offer a moment of silence on the day of the state funeral has also stirred public opposition.

Chan Kane