GOOD FOR JAPAN TO HOST FOREIGN DIGNITARIES
Kishida has certainly mismanaged the situation. He first dithered on the decision, then moved too hastily. The funeral date was schedule too far after Abe’s passing, allowing the issue to dominate the airwaves. When complaints over the cost first surfaced, the government allowed it to linger in the news cycle by initially low-balling the estimate.
But the incumbent is nonetheless right to go ahead with this event. Japan should be proud of Abe’s achievements on the world stage – or at least recognise that he boosted the country’s standing.
He is likely the only Japanese leader of the 21st century that many outside the country could name; he looms large over policies that helped lend new life to a country that teetered on the economic edge, and made Japan a key foreign policy player in Asia and beyond.
Concerns about expense are difficult to take in good faith.
Foreign relations, like any friendships, have intangible costs and benefits. It’s indisputably a good thing for Japan’s standing on the world stage to be hosting foreign dignitaries in a celebration of the life of one of the country’s greatest diplomats.
A one-time use of the state jet is estimated at around 200 million yen (US$1.4 million), yet few complain that Japan’s Emperor attended the funeral of another hereditary, non-elected head of state when the Queen’s own farewell was held. If there are issues with money being spent, it should be on the police protection that failed to do its job in Nara last July.