Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party jointly held a funeral on Saturday for former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who is known for strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance and privatizing national railways in the 1980s.
Nakasone “contributed to the international community’s peace and prosperity by carrying out necessary reforms while looking ahead to our country’s shape in the next generation,” Suga said in a speech during the funeral, which was held at a Tokyo hotel.
The prime minister vowed to “inherit (Nakasone’s) reformist spirit and devote all my energy to running the government.”
The funeral’s participants included the heads of both chambers of the Diet, past LDP presidents and representatives from other parties.
The funeral was also attended by Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, as well as envoys of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako and Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko.
On behalf of Nakasone’s friends, Tsuneo Watanabe, representative director and editor-in-chief of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper group, sent a message to the funeral, saying that he is looking forward to seeing Nakasone in heaven.
The funeral for Nakasone, who died in November last year, was initially slated for March. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed and its participant list was scaled down.
The funeral took place amid criticism about the education ministry’s request for universities to mourn Nakasone, as well as its costs, put at about ¥190 million. The government has decided to cover half of the funeral costs.