Japan smoke bomb suspect tackled as prime minister is evacuated
A suspect was wrestled to the ground Saturday after a smoke bomb was thrown at an event with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (NTV via APTN)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated Saturday after someone threw an explosive device his way during a campaign event at a fishing port in western Japan.
No one was hurt in the incident and police tackled a suspect as panicking bystanders hurried away while smoke filled the air.
Kishida continued to campaign at Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture following the incident. The explosion occurred just before he was set to speak.
A young man was arrested at the scene after he allegedly threw “the suspicious object,” according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.
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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, surrounded by security police, arrives at the Saikazaki port for an election campaign event in Wakayama, western Japan Saturday, April 15, 2023. Kishida was evacuated unharmed Saturday after someone threw an explosive device in his direction while he was campaigning at the fishing port in western Japan, officials said. (Kyodo News via AP)
“Elections are the core of democracy, and we should never tolerate threats or obstruction by violence,” Matsuno said.
The secretary refused to comment on the suspect’s motive and background, and explained that authorities are still investigating.
A man believed to be a suspect, center on the ground, is caught by police after he allegedly threw “the suspicious object,” as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited Saikazaki port for an election campaign event in Wakayama, western Japan Saturday, April 15, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP)
It wasn’t immediately clear what the explosive device was, or how many the suspect had. Some reports said it was a smoke or pipe bomb, possibly with a delayed fuse.
TV footage from the event showed Kishida’s security detail pointing to the ground near him, with the prime minister whipping around.
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A suspicious object is seen on the ground where a suspect was arrested before Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was to begin his speech, at the Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture, western Japan, Saturday, April 15, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP)
The camera then points at the crowd as uniformed and plainclothes officers converge on a young man in a white surgical mask and holding a long silver tube.
As they work to remove the tube, a large explosion is heard near where Kishida has been standing and the crowd disperses.
A man, center, is caught after what appeared to be a smoke bomb was thrown at a port in Wakayama, western Japan, Saturday, April 15, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP)
Kishida did not mention the explosion and returned to the Tokyo region later that night.
Matsuno said he had instructed national police to ensure their utmost effort for the protection of dignitaries who are visiting Japan leading up to the Group of Seven summit in May.
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)
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Saturday’s attack comes ahead of national local elections, and following the shocking assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe less than a year ago, leading to the resignation of top local and national police chiefs.
Kishida was visiting the area to support his ruling party’s candidate in a local election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News and Fox Business Digital.