THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
April 16, 2023 at 14:05 JST
KAWANISHI, Hyogo Prefecture--Police on April 16 searched the home here of a man suspected of lobbing an explosive device while Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was campaigning for a Lower House by-election the previous day in Wakayama city.
Kishida was unharmed in the incident that occurred around 11:25 a.m. He was preparing to give a speech at Saikazaki fishing port when a cylindrical object landed behind him and exploded moments later.
Video footage taken by a resident captured Kishida looking back as security officers rushed to protect him while members of the roughly 200-strong audience screamed.
The suspect, Ryuji Kimura, 24, was arrested on the spot on suspicion of obstructing a campaign speech. He was believed to be about 10 meters from Kishida when he hurled the device, according to police.
Wakayama prefectural police are examining a backpack that was among Kimura’s presumed personal belongings seized at the scene.
In Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, Wakayama prefectural police began searching Kimura’s home before 1 a.m. on April 16. Officers took away 10 or so cardboard boxes before the search ended at 10 a.m.
Hyogo prefectural police had told nearby residents to evacuate beforehand for fear explosives would be found at Kimura’s home. The advisory was lifted after their fears proved unfounded.
A resolute Kishida again condemned the attack early April 16.
“Such a violent act is unforgiveable as it was committed during elections, which form the basis of democracy,” he told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. “It is vitally important to carry through with the election process to the very end.”
Kishida was to visit Oita on April 16 as scheduled to campaign for an Upper House by-election, which will be held April 23 along with four Lower-House by-elections.
Kishida also said Japan will do its utmost to provide the highest level of security and ensure safety at the Group of Seven summit to be held May 19-21 in Hiroshima.
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