On Saturday, April 15, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt during a public event in Wakayama. The attack has sent shockwaves across Japan and the international community, raising concerns about the safety and security of political leaders.
According to eyewitnesses and preliminary reports from the Japanese authorities, the attacker was armed with a smoke or pipe bomb. Kishida had just begun to speak after visiting the fishing port in Wakayama for a campaign event when the object was thrown at him, and he immediately took cover. The Prime Minister’s address was part of official campaigning for the by-election happening at Wakayama No.1 district’s lower house.
At the time of the event, Kishida was standing next to a candidate of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
However, the prime minister’s security detail quickly intervened, preventing any serious harm to Kishida. At the explosion site, Fumio Kishida took cover and stayed protected. The motives behind the attack are still under investigation, and the Japanese government has released no official statement regarding the attacker’s intentions.
A “smoke bomb” appeared to have been hurled, according to several reports, including one from the Kyodo news agency, but there were no immediate signs of injuries or damage at the scene. National network NHK and other sources reported that a person was apprehended at the location in Wakayama, western Japan, where Kishida was scheduled to deliver a speech. Kishida said, “There was a loud blast sound at the previous speech venue. Police are investigating details, but I’d like to apologise for worrying many people and causing them trouble”. He added, “An election that’s important to our country is taking place, and we must work together and follow through on it.”
At a campaign event, Kishida stated he saw something being tossed close to him, and he ran away just before an explosion occurred. As per NHK, On a phone call with a senior Liberal Democrat official, he also stated that he was able to leave the campaign location after seeing the object that had been hurled at him and before the explosion. According to Kishida, he will hold his scheduled political rallies on Saturday and Sunday.
But the police have so far refrained from making any additional comments as the investigation is still going on.
In Japan, violent attacks are incredibly uncommon. The security around politicians, though, causes some concern. This attack happened just nine months after Shinzo Abe’s assassination, the predecessor of Fumio Kishida, while giving a campaign speech. Abe was shot from behind at close range in July 2022 while delivering a campaign speech for a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidate near Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara City, Nara Prefecture. The attack left 67-year-old Shinzo with multiple bullet wounds on his neck and chest. Abe experienced cardiac arrest, collapsed on the ground, and started bleeding after two gunshots. The ex-PM was immediately rushed to the hospital & succumbed to his bullet injuries.
These recent attacks on elected officials have raised serious security concerns because Japan will host the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ conference in Hiroshima next month. This attack on the Prime Minister raises concern about the security of the world leaders coming to Japan. Japanese officials have called for a thorough investigation into the incident and heightened security measures for political figures. The incident has also led to discussions about the need for improved security protocols to protect the safety of high-ranking officials in Japan.