The ruling and opposition parties have settled on their policies regarding attendance at the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Liberal Democratic Party, to which Abe belonged; its coalition partner Komeito; Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party); and the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) have said that their members will attend the funeral, scheduled for Sept. 27 in Tokyo.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), which had withheld its response until the last minute, finally announced Thursday that its officials would not attend the event, thus falling into step with the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), Reiwa Shinsengumi and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The CDPJ held an extraordinary executive meeting Thursday at the party's headquarters and decided that officials including President Kenta Izumi and Secretary General Katsuya Okada would not attend Abe's state funeral.
"The state funeral is forcibly being held at the Cabinet's own discretion. It is no wonder many people feel uncomfortable, doubtful and opposed," Izumi told reporters after the meeting.
The CDPJ had submitted a questionnaire to the government asking about the legal basis and significance of holding the state funeral, and received a response Wednesday. Izumi characterized the response as follows: "Zero answers. It was just a repetition of the explanation made at the Diet session." He added that the party therefore decided not to attend.
The JCP and Reiwa announced their absence early on, and Ishin no Kai and the DPFP also formalized their stance after an adjournment deliberation session on the issue held in both chambers of the Diet on Sept. 8. But the CDPJ continued struggling to make its decision even after the session.
At first, the CDPJ requested the government to give explanations at the Diet, saying there was no legal basis for holding a state funeral. It then said that the party would make a decision after assessing the explanation. Even after the Diet deliberations, however, the CDPJ postponed its decision, with Izumi saying the party "wants to see how the government will handle it."
The CDPJ later announced that its non-executive members could decide whether to attend the funeral at their own discretion. Even so, it still submitted the questionnaire on Tuesday, which also was the due date to reply to the funeral invitations. Some members within the CDPJ said their party had given "a half-hearted reply."
A younger CDPJ member lamented the fact that the party waited for the government's reply, saying: "There is no way that the government would give a better answer than it did in the Diet deliberations. The party should have shown its stance right away."
A senior government official, meanwhile, said of the CDPJ, "If they think their written questionnaire was more important than the Diet deliberations, they are the ones disrespecting the Diet session."
Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) President Tomoko Yoshino, who opposes the CDPJ becoming close to the JCP, said at a press conference Thursday that she would attend the funeral. As for the CDPJ's response, however, she limited herself to saying, "I think this is the result of various discussions."
Some LDP members have criticized the CDPJ's handling of the matter with comments such as: "It's only natural to pray for the deceased regardless of the differences in political views. It is a far-fetched reason to say that the government's explanation is bad."
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan President Kenta Izumi speaks to reporters after the party's extraordinary executive meeting on Thursday.
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