Japan prepares to bid farewell to Abe in state funeral

STORY: Abe's killing at a July 8 campaign rally set off a flood of revelations about ties between lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) he once ran and the Unification Church, which critics call a cult, sparking a backlash against current premier Fumio Kishida.

With his support ratings dragged to their lowest ever by the controversy, Kishida has apologized and vowed to cut party ties to the church.

But opposition to honoring Abe with a state funeral, the first such event since 1967, has persisted, fed by an $11.5-million price tag to be borne by the state at a time of economic pain for ordinary citizens.

About 4,300 are expected to attend Tuesday's ceremony and at least 48 current or former government figures, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kishida cited the chance for meeting with international leaders as another reason for hosting the funeral.