Photo/Illutration Police officers tackle a man believed to have thrown a bomb at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on April 15 in Wakayama Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Organizers of VIP events should heed the advice of police and other security experts to prevent a repeat of the close-call bomb attack against Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the National Police Agency said.

The NPA, in a report issued on June 1, pointed out numerous shortcomings in security that allowed the bombing suspect to easily enter the event venue and get close enough to Kishida to throw a homemade bomb just meters away from him.

The attack occurred on April 15 at the Saikazaki fishing port where Kishida was scheduled to give a campaign speech.

According to the report, Wakayama prefectural police on April 12 met with the prefectural chapter of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that organized the event as well as officials of the local fisheries cooperative to plan security.

LDP chapter officials said the only participants at the venue would be people connected to the fisheries cooperative. Police officials asked that a reception desk be set up at the entrance to the venue and that a metal detector be used, but those measures were not taken.

Police also asked event organizers to question anyone carrying an unnaturally large bag, but the suspect, Ryuji Kimura, was not stopped even though he had a backpack.

According to the report, Kimura came to the fishing port about a minute after Kishida’s arrival.

Three or four fisheries cooperative officials as well as security personnel were standing near the entrance to the venue to ensure that the participants were all connected with the cooperative. But Kimura could enter, even though he was not a member.

The report outlines how Kimura removed the bomb from his backpack and threw it near Kishida.

A police officer used a protective bag and his foot to kick the object away from the prime minister while others surrounded Kishida and took him to a car about 42 meters away.

Kishida’s right foot was in the car when the bomb exploded, about 50 seconds after it was thrown.

No one said anything to Kimura until after he threw the explosive, the report said.

The report said organizers should have more thoroughly checked everyone entering the event venue as well as their bags and belongings.

The report also said local police should have more carefully explained to organizers the need for various security measures as well as notification beforehand that inspections would be conducted at the entrance.

The report also said a plan to evacuate participants to ensure their safety should have been devised.

Isao Itabashi, an anti-terrorism expert at the Council for Public Policy, said the report showed that political groups organizing such events should also be responsible for security.

“Until now, organizers left all security matters up to the police so they had a weak sense of the need to think about security,” Itabashi said. “Organizers should realize that campaign activities that do not consider such risks put the lives of participants and supporters in danger.”

He added that the main responsibility of police at such events should be providing protection to VIPs who need it.

(This article was written by Shimpachi Yoshida, a senior staff writer, and Hidemasa Yoshizawa.)