Japan PM accepts Abe funeral criticism

·1-min read

Japan's prime minister accepts he did not sufficiently explain why he wants a state funeral for slain former premier Shinzo Abe, a decision that has dented his support that has slipped to its lowest ever.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's decision to hold a state-funded funeral on September 27 is widely opposed amid anger over revelations ties between the ruling party and a church group may have played a part in Abe's assassination.

"I humbly accept the criticism that my explanation was insufficient," Kishida told members of parliament on Thursday.

Abe, Japan's longest-serving but divisive premier, was shot and killed at an election rally on July 8.

His suspected assassin, arrested at the scene, bore a grudge against the Unification Church, alleging it bankrupted his mother, and blamed Abe for promoting it.

Most people in Japan feel links between the ruling party and the church - founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass weddings - have not been adequately explained.

Many voters are sceptical 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, recognised at home and abroad.

Criticism of the funeral could increase as the cost has risen to $A17.8 million and is likely to rise further.