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Japan ruling party execs seek understanding over big cost for ex-PM Nakasone's funeral

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)
Yasuhiro Nakasone (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Top officials of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) sought understanding over the government's allocation of 96 million yen (about $908,000) for the funeral for former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to be held jointly by the Cabinet and the LDP, amid growing criticism from opposition parties and the public over the enormous cost.

    At a press conference on Sept. 29, LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai said Nakasone, who died in 2019, aged 101, "played an active role for many years. It is only natural for Japan and our party to see him off with everything we can."

    LDP General Council Chairperson Tsutomu Sato also stated, "He (Nakasone) made tremendous achievements. I believe the Cabinet decided on (the cost) based on that evaluation."

    Hiroshige Seko, head of the LDP caucus in the House of Councillors, explained to reporters that some 77 million yen (about $730,000) in state funds was spent each on the joint-run funeral for former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in 2006 and that for ex-PM Kiichi Miyazawa in 2007. He then emphasized, "The budget (for Nakasone's funeral) isn't too expensive, given the soaring personnel costs and the need to secure a fairly large venue to take measures against the coronavirus."

    Nakasone's joint-run funeral is scheduled for Oct. 17 at Grand Prince Hotel Shin Takanawa in Tokyo. The total cost of the ceremony is set to reach approximately 190 million yen (about $1.8 million), with the LDP shouldering about half of the spending.

    Nakasone promoted a "comprehensive evaluation of postwar politics" and carried out administrative and fiscal reforms while in office. He served at the helm of the government for nearly five years from November 1982 to November 1987 toward the end of the Cold War. Nakasone also promoted top-level diplomacy including his "Ron-Yasu" relationship with then U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

    (Japanese original by Yusuke Mizuwaki, Political News Department)

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