Explosive Device Thrown in Direction of Japanese PM

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated to safety on Saturday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2023 6:40 AM CDT
Explosive Device Thrown in Direction of Japanese PM
A man, on the ground, who threw what appeared to be a smoke bomb, is caught at a port in Wakayama, western Japan Saturday, April 15, 2023.   (Kyodo News via AP)

A fishing port in western Japan was the site of a chaotic scene on Saturday as officials say an explosive device was thrown in the direction of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He was evacuated to safety as bystanders screamed and a suspect was wrestled to the ground by police. No injuries were reported, and Kishida carried on campaigning. But the incident brought to mind the assassination just nine months ago of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which also occurred as he was on a campaign tour and continues to reverberate in Japanese politics, reports the AP.

A young man believed to be a suspect was arrested Saturday at the scene after he allegedly threw “the suspicious object,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters. Matsuno refused to comment on the suspect’s motive and background, saying police are still investigating. The BBC identifies the suspect as Ryuji Kimura, 24. TV footage shows Kishida standing with his back to the crowd. His security detail suddenly points to the ground near him, and the prime minister whips around, looking alarmed. The camera quickly turns to the crowd just as several people, including uniformed and plainclothes police officers, converge on a young man wearing a white surgical mask and holding what appears to be another device, a long silver tube.

As they collapse on top of the man, working to remove the tube from his hands, a large explosion is heard near where Kishida had been standing. The crowd scatters in panic as police roughly drag the man away. It wasn’t immediately clear what the explosive device was or how many the suspect had, but some reports said it was a smoke or pipe bomb, possibly with a delayed fuse. Saturday’s attack comes ahead of nationwide local elections, including several by-elections for vacated parliamentary seats, with voting scheduled for April 23.

(More Japan stories.)

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