On Thursday, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida accepted criticism that he had not sufficiently explained why he wanted a state funeral for slain former premier Shinzo Abe — a decision that has dented his support, which has slipped to its lowest ever.
His decision to hold the funeral on September 27 — to be paid for by the state — is widely opposed by the public, amid anger over revelations that ties between the ruling party and a church group could have played a part in the assassination.
"I humbly accept the criticism that my explanation was insufficient," Kishida told members of parliament in response to questions about the issue.
Abe, Japan's longest-serving (but divisive) premier, was shot and killed at an election rally on July 8.
The suspected assassin, arrested at the scene moments after the killing, bore a grudge against the Unification Church, alleging it bankrupted his mother, and blamed Abe for promoting it.
A majority of members of the public feel that links between the ruling party and the Church, which was founded in South Korea in the 1950s and is famous for its mass weddings, have not been adequately explained.
Many voters are also sceptical that the political party will cut ties with the church, as Kishida has promised.
Kishida has said he decided to hold a state funeral given Abe's contributions to the country and his achievements, which have been recognised at home and abroad.
However, criticism of the funeral could increase further, as its cost has risen to $12 million, and is likely to rise even more.
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