JAPAN: Fumio Kishida was taken to the hospital unharmed after a smoke bomb was thrown during his outdoor speech in western Japan. A police officer involved in the event was slightly hurt, according to Nikkei and Wakayama prefectural police.
Kishida apologized for the loud explosion sound at his previous speech venue, which was reminiscent of the shooting death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot with a handmade gun last July while running for a parliamentary seat. A crucial election is taking place.
The assassination of Abe sparked a review of safety measures used by politicians, who often engage people in personal interactions. A 35-year-old employee of a company who saw the incident said “security was still lax due to the suspect being pulled down by another onlooker.”
He is considering not attending political events any longer. On April 23, by-elections in a number of regions will be held for the lower house of the Japanese parliament.
No change in G7 summit security
Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief cabinet secretary, said the government would take all necessary precautions to ensure security during the G7 industry conference Kishida will hold in Hiroshima the next month. He said that police had been told to step up security.
The G7 foreign ministers’ conference in Karuizawa will not see any changes to security arrangements, according to the foreign ministry of Japan. Matsuno stated that the government would wait for the outcome of the police investigation before making any statements on a suspected motive from the suspect.
Kishida was being served a gourmet seafood dish when he was attacked by a security guard and a member of the fishery cooperative’s staff. The explosion, followed by a cloud of smoke, was observed close to where Kishida had been standing. The suspect was identified as a member of the fishery cooperative’s staff.
Police officers were seen pinning a man to the ground and removing him. A metal pipe was thrown and fell near Kishida. A male suspect from Kawanishi City, age 24, has declined to speak with anyone until his attorney is up. A representative of the prefectural police headquarters in Wakayama was unable to comment on the incident.
NHK was informed by a witness that she observed an object flying overhead. She added “it gave me a bad feeling, so we ran away unbelievably fast. Then there was a very loud sound. My daughter started crying because of it.”