Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was unharmed after a suspect tossed what seemed to be a smoke bomb at an outdoor speech in western Japan on Saturday, according to domestic media.
A loud explosion was heard, but the premier took cover and was unharmed, according to national station NHK, while police apprehended a man at the scene. According to NHK, there were no injuries.
“Police are investigating the details of the loud explosive sound at the previous speech venue,” Kishida stated in a video broadcast by NHK as he began his campaign remarks. “I apologize for causing so much concern.” Our country is in the midst of a critical election. We have to do this together.”
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving leader, was killed in July while campaigning for a parliamentary election with a handmade gun, shocking the nation and prompting a review of security for leaders who constantly touch the flesh with the public.
On April 23, by-elections for Japan’s lower house of parliament will be held in various regions.
The event occurred late Saturday morning in the Saikazaki fishing harbor in Wakayama prefecture, around 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Osaka.
According to media reports, Kishida was being given local specialty shrimp moments before the explosion. Kishida was caught on camera staring behind him, surprised, as shouting filled the area.
According to the Asahi newspaper, a guy identified as a fishery cooperative employee seized a young man in a headlock as police swarmed the culprit and took him to the ground. An explosion and a cloud of smoke could be seen moments later near where Kishida had been standing.
The hurled object, which looked to be a metal cylinder, was shown on NHK video.
Crowds were seen fleeing as multiple police officers appeared to pin a man to the ground before removing him from the area, according to NHK footage. According to reports, the individual was in his 20s or 30s.
An official from Wakayama’s prefectural police headquarters told Reuters that he could not comment on the incident. According to Kyodo, police nabbed a 24-year-old male suspect from Kawanishi city.
According to a witness on the site, she spotted an object flying overhead, and “it gave me a bad feeling, so we ran away unbelievably fast.” Then there was a very loud noise. My daughter cried as a result of that.”
Next month, Kishida will host a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima. Following the incident, Japan’s foreign ministry stated that there will be no changes to the security arrangement for a G7 foreign ministers’ conference beginning on Sunday in the resort city of Karuizawa.