No preferential treatment has been given to the Japanese company that won the tender to organize the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this month, the chief cabinet secretary said on Monday. .
Tokyo-based event organizer Murayama Inc, which has been involved in some controversial government-sponsored events, was the only company to bid for the Sept. 27 state funeral, Hirokazu added. Matsuno at a regular press conference.
A sniper shot dead Abe during an election campaign speech in early July.
The opposition bloc slammed Murayama after it was revealed the company held meetings with the Cabinet Office ahead of the bidding process to hold annual cherry blossom viewing parties hosted by Abe during his tenure.
Cherry blossom viewing parties have come under fire as Abe’s support group held questionable dinner parties at two luxury hotels in Tokyo between 2013 and 2019 on the eve of them.
The events cost 23 million yen over five years to 2019, far more than the amounts raised from participants, many of whom were voters from Abe Ward in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan.
To make up the shortfalls, Abe’s team is believed to have paid a total of 9 million yen over five years, but the supporters’ group and its fund management body failed to record the revenue and expenditures in their reports on political funds.
“There is no fact (to back up the claims) that we tried to favor any specific company” when bidding for the funeral, said Matsuno, the government’s top spokesman. , as public opposition to the state event mounts at home.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Sunday that the tender was “done based on proper procedures”.
Murayama has won tenders to hold cherry blossom viewing parties for five consecutive years from 2015, according to government records. From 2017 to 2019, the company reportedly held talks with the Cabinet Office before bidding.
The company made a successful bid of 176 million to organize the state funeral of Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. Abe, who died aged 67, served as prime minister for about a year from 2006 and again from 2012 to 2020.
The government, meanwhile, allocated 249 million yen of taxpayers’ money for the state funeral, excluding security and hospitality expenses for foreign dignitaries.
Kishida said late last month that the total cost will vary depending on the number of foreign guests attending the event, although his administration plans to come up with a figure as soon as possible.