Kishida to explain to Diet Thursday why state funeral for Abe will be held

Japan's prime minister and other lawmakers will hold an out-of-session Diet meeting on Thursday to discuss the state funeral of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

Abe was fatally shot while making an election campaign speech in July. His funeral is scheduled for September 27 in Tokyo.

A question-and-answer session is scheduled at both the lower and upper chambers following briefings by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu.

The ruling parties are set to confirm with Kishida the reason and significance for holding what will be Japan's first state funeral for a former prime minister in 55 years.

The opposition side, meanwhile, will argue that it is wrong for the government to give Abe exceptional treatment and question whether the total expected cost of the funeral, estimated at nearly 12 million dollars, is justifiable.

With public opinion divided over the matter, it remains to be seen whether Kishida can convince members of the public through his explanation.

Discussions are also expected to focus on the ties between the main governing Liberal Democratic Party and the religious group formerly known as the Unification Church.