We oppose a “State Funeral” for former Prime Minister Abe.


Mr. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan     August 1, 2022 We oppose a “State Funeral” for former Prime Min […]

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan    

August 1, 2022

We oppose a “State Funeral” for former Prime Minister Abe.

On July 8, 2022, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed during a speech in support of the Upper House elections. The Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of former Prime Minister Abe on his untimely death. We deplore all acts of violence, for any reason, against politicians. This type of violence negates the fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy.
 However, we protest Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet decision on July 22 to hold a “State Funeral” for Prime Minister Abe.

Prime Minister Kishida has stated that former Prime Minister Abe’s “State Funeral” is being held to “resolutely protect democracy”. However, the prewar “State Funeral Order” expired on December 31, 1947. Even in the case of the “State Funeral” of Shigeru Yoshida in 1967, the only State Funeral held since the war, the Cabinet Legislation Legal Affairs Bureau stated that, “the legal basis” for this Cabinet decision, “is not clear”. This time, the government is using the Cabinet Office Establishment Law, Article 4, concerning “State Ceremonies” as the basis for their decision. However, since the “State Funeral Order” has already expired and has been abolished, it is unreasonable to include “State Funerals”, in the law concerning “State Ceremonies”. It must be said that the decision to hold a “State Funeral” without deliberation by the Diet, the highest organ of state power, shakes the very foundations of democracy.

Historically, “State Funerals” have been firmly linked with a national system based on the sovereignty of the emperor. From the Meiji period until 1945, “State Funerals” were held for “meritorious subjects” who rendered distinguished service to the nation as a gift from the emperor. It is undeniable that there was a political purpose for these “State Funerals” as they helped to promote national unity by inducing people to mourn together. During that period, religious people who did not adhere to State Shinto, which was inextricably linked to the emperor system, were severely suppressed. We are concerned that “State Funerals” held now will be linked to this past.

“State Funerals” are state-sponsored and state-funded, which forces all citizens to offer their condolences to distinguished people whose achievements have been recognized by the State. The State is not allowed to interfere in the internal forum of an individual’s way of mourning death. In this sense, “State Funerals” contradict the “freedom of thought and conscience” guaranteed in Article 19 of the Constitution.

Former Prime Minister Abe revised the Fundamental Law of Education. He also forcibly enacted laws that infringe on human freedom, such as the, Protection of Specially Designated Secrets Act and the Crime of Conspiracy Act. The constitutionality of the security legislation enacted under the Abe administration is questionable in that it recognizes the right to collective self-defense. In addition, former Prime Minister Abe has left many issues that need to be clarified, such as: Moritomo Gakuen, Kake Gakuen, the cherry blossom viewing party, and his connection with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (the former Unification Church). Evaluation of Former Prime Minister Abe’s character has divided people into two opposing groups. Under these circumstances, if a “State Funeral” is forced, it may further divide the people.

For these reasons, we, the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace, strongly oppose a “State Funeral” for former Prime Minister Abe.

Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace
Wayne Berndt, President
Edgar Gacutan, Bishop in Charge
All members of the Council