Ad imageAd image

Japan Prime Minister Narrowly Survives Assassination

4 Min Read
A man who threw what appears to be a bomb is subdued by others on Saturday in the city of Wakayama, where Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was about to give a speech

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated Saturday after an apparent bomb — followed by a loud explosion and rising white smoke — was thrown at the venue where he was about to begin a stump speech in the city of Wakayama.

Kishida was later confirmed to be safe.

Investigators confiscated two cylindrical objects from the scene believed to be explosive devices, NHK reported.

One exploded during the incident, while the other was seized by a police officer as the suspect — Ryuji Kimura, a 24-year-old from Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture — was being held down, the broadcaster said. The suspect has so far not responded to police questioning, NHK said.

No injuries were reported following the incident.

Video footage showed people at Saikazaki Fishing Port in Wakayama running for shelter at around 11:25 a.m., while a man was subdued first by what appeared to be two local fishermen.

Several others — possibly police officers at the scene — then held the suspect on the ground. A Twitter post also showed that people were escaping from the scene.

Kishida, who was visiting the port for a speech to support a Liberal Democratic Party candidate for a by-election planned for later this month, left the scene unhurt after the incident, which took place as he was speaking with a candidate of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Police later arrested the suspect, a 24-year-old man, at the scene for forcible obstruction of business. He was then taken to a nearby police station for questioning.

Kishida will proceed with the rest of the speeches scheduled for the day. After the incident in Saikazaki, he finished his speech in front of Wakayama Station at around 1 p.m. and is slated to speak in Urayasu and Ichikawa in Chiba Prefecture later in the afternoon. Kishida’s trip to Oita Prefecture on Sunday, in support of the LDP candidate for the Upper-House by-elections, will still take place for now.

“Right now, we are in the midst of an important election campaign,” Kishida said after he arrived at a separate event in Wakayama later Saturday. “We need to continue on with the help of all of you.”

The incident comes just nine months after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a homemade gun while he was campaigning for the LDP in Nara Prefecture, which borders Wakayama.

The killing of Abe prompted police to revise rules for VIP protection.

LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi said he had spoken to the prime minister since the incident.

“It is extremely regrettable that such an incident took place during an election which is the foundation of democracy,” he said. “I strongly condemn it.”

Japan will host the G7 summit in Hiroshima next month, with the foreign ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture and the environment ministers meeting being held in Sapporo this weekend.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Saturday that he has communicated with the National Police Agency regarding security measures for the G7 summit.

“We will do what we must do to ensure the security of key personnel,” said Matsuno.

Leave a comment