Chaos after bomb-like substance hurled at Japan’s Fumio Kishida
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was rushed to safety after a loud explosion was heard just as he was about to begin a stump speech in the port city of Wakayama in western Japan on Saturday. According to Japan Times, a man hurled an apparent smoke or pipe bomb at the leader.
The incident took place around 11:25 Tokyo time as scores of people had assembled to hear Kishida. Multiple reports suggest the explosion was heard when the 65-year-old leader was speaking with a candidate of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, the suspect, identified only as a young male, was immediately arrested by security officials present to guard Kishida. NHK quoted a witness as saying she saw something come flying from behind and that there was a loud noise. Another witness said he saw a person being apprehended right after the explosion was heard.
The video footage, which has now gone viral on a number of social media platforms, shows hundreds of people who had assembled for the event running for shelter. Meanwhile, hours after the explosion, Kishida – who is reportedly unhurt – took to Twitter to stress he would continue to hold election rallies despite the incident.
It comes just nine months after former prime minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot from behind at close range at a similar stump speech in Nara, shocking the world as Japan is counted among the world’s safest countries, where guns are strictly controlled.
Abe was airlifted to Nara Medical University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, had used a homemade firearm and was arrested at the scene.