We demand that Cabinet decision to hold estate funeralf for former Prime Minister Abe be retracted
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
July 22, 2022
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s Cabinet on July 22 approved a decision to hold a “state funeral” for the late former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on September 27. After the House of Councilors election (July 10), Kishida expressed his intention to hold the state funeral. Despite the fact that public opinion is deeply divided, he had his Cabinet approve the plan in disregard of questions or opposition. People should be free to express condolences based on their personal feelings regardless of how the deceased is evaluated. The government has no right to force the public to express condolences. Using tax money for holding such a state funeral is tantamount to forcing the public to express condolences. We categorically oppose the Cabinet decision and demand the state funeral plan be retracted.
Prime Minister Kishida is justifying the holding of the state funeral by saying that Abe as a prime minister exerted outstanding leadership ability to get things done during his tenure, which lasted 8 years and 8 months, the longest ever in constitutional government, adding that the late prime minister made great achievements in various fields, including foreign relations centering around Japan-US relations. But such an explanation cannot be used to justify the state funeral. It is important to hold fast to the principles of liberty and democracy without overreacting to the former prime minister being gunned down.
The former Prime Minister Abe’s government implemented neoliberal economic policies, destroying the rule of employment and push ahead with economic policy known as “Abenomics” to serve the interest of large corporations and the wealthy. It has increased the consumption tax and carried out cutbacks in funding for health care and other social services, thus destroying people’s livelihoods and the local economy. Abe laid the groundwork for turning Japan into a country that can wage wars abroad by forcing the Cabinet decision to allow the country to exercise a right of collective self-defense, which marked a departure from the successive Liberal Democratic Party governments’ position, and the enactment of the War Laws. He was involved in a spate of scandals over a questionable state-owned land sale to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, over the opening of a new vet school in Ehime Prefecture that is being overseen by one of Abe's close friends, and the alleged abuse tax money for his “cherry-blossom viewing party.” He made at least 118 false statements in the Diet. These are some of the countless cases of Abe’s misgovernment that have faced strong public criticism.
The Cabinet decision to hold the “state funeral” is absolutely unacceptable as it means forcing all the Japanese people to offer condolences in contravention of the Constitution’s Article 19 (Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated). The state funeral is intended to give praise to all what was done under the government led by Abe and cover up all its negative legacy and help give credit and even applause Prime Minister Kishida who pledges to inherit what was done under the Abe government. We absolutely oppose Prime Minister Kishida’s pledge to succeed to the will of former Prime Minister Abe to revise the Constitution, acquire the capability to attack enemy base and promote major military buildup to be able to wage war by destroying people’s livelihoods.
At a time when the seventh wave of COVID-19 and soaring prices are threatening people’s livelihoods and business, the task is for the government to protect people’s lives by securing and improving the health care systems and to support people’s livelihoods and the economy from bottom through cutting the consumption tax and substantially raising wages. Zenroren expresses its commitment to working with industrial and regional federations to broaden people’s cooperation to realize politics guided by the Constitution to protect lives and living conditions of the workers and the people.