Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was safely evacuated after an explosion occurred at a western port on Saturday, according to NHK television. A suspect was apprehended for allegedly throwing the explosive.
Kishida was visiting the Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture to support his party’s candidate in a local election. The explosion happened just before he was about to start his speech. There were no reported injuries and Kishida was taken to Wakayama prefectural police headquarters.
This incident happened nine months after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated while giving a campaign speech in the western city of Nara. This assassination resulted in the reinforcement of Japan’s police security measures.
The recent attack happened as a series of Group of Seven ministerial meetings began this weekend ahead of the May 19-21 summit that Kishida will host in Hiroshima.
On Saturday, a young male suspect was arrested at the scene for allegedly throwing the explosive. NHK footage showed several uniformed and plainclothes police officers surrounding the man and pressing him to the ground while dragging him to the side.
One witness reported seeing something coming from behind, resulting in a sudden loud noise, and fleeing with her children. Another witness claimed people were screaming and saw someone being apprehended right before the explosion occurred.
The attack happened ahead of nationwide local elections, including a by-election for a vacated seat in the lower house of the Parliament, with voting scheduled for April 23.
In Abe’s assassination, the attacker allegedly shot Abe with a homemade gun as the former leader was making a campaign speech. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, has been charged with murder and several other crimes including violation of a gun control law.
Abe’s alleged assassin expressed that he killed Abe because of Abe’s apparent links to a religious group that he despised. Yamagami said that his mother made massive donations to the Unification Church, which bankrupted his family and ruined his life.
The assassination led to the resignation of top local and national police chiefs and a tightening of security guidelines for political leaders and other prominent people. (AP)