Japan’s PM Kishida vows safety of G7 meetings after ‘smoke bomb’ attack

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Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a day after he was evacuated from an apparent attack, vowed to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Group of Seven leaders and senior ministers visiting his country through next month.

Kishida escaped unhurt after a suspect threw what appeared to be a smoke bomb during an election campaign stop at a fishing port in western Japan.

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“This reflects an increasing challenge of being in politics these days,” said Canada’s minister of natural resources, JonathanWilkinson.

“Unfortunately I think that some of this has to do with the social media and some of the misinformation which spreads online,” Wilkinson told Reuters in Sapporo in northern Japan, where G7 climate and energy ministers were meeting.

A man, believed to be a suspect who threw a pipe-like object near Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his outdoor speech, is held by police officers at Saikazaki fishing port in Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture, south-western Japan, on April 15, 2023, in this photo released by Kyodo. (Reuters)
A man, believed to be a suspect who threw a pipe-like object near Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his outdoor speech, is held by police officers at Saikazaki fishing port in Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture, south-western Japan, on April 15, 2023, in this photo released by Kyodo. (Reuters)



The suspect in Saturday’s incident, identified by police as 24 year-old Ryuji Kimura, was also carrying a knife when he was arrested, as well as a possible second explosive device he dropped at the scene after bystanders and police tackled him, Kyodo news agen-cy reported.

No motive for the apparent attack, in which media said one police officer was slightly injured, has been announced.

Speaking to reporters, Kishida said Japan must not allow acts of violence that attack the foundation of democracy.

His bomb scare in Wakayama prefecture near Osaka was an eerie reminder of the assassination last July of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot with a homemade gun while campaigning for a parliamentary election.

Abe’s killing shocked Japan, where gun crimes are exceedingly rare, and prompted a review of security for politicians, who rou-tinely mingle with the public.

Japanese politicians are campaigning for by-elections on April 23 for the lower house of parliament.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Saturday that police have been instructed to boost security and the
government would do what is necessary to ensure security when Kishida hosts the May G7 summit in Hiroshima.

“As politicians, we have to go out and campaign sometimes -– it means we have to be exposed to the public,” Britain’s secretary of state for energy security, Grant Shapps, told Reuters in Sapporo.

“But I am quite sure that in the context of the G7 with our prime minister and other world leaders coming to Japan, we are perfect-ly safe,” Shapps said.

G7 foreign ministers gather on Sunday in the resort city of Karuizawa.

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