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Japan PM evacuated unharmed after explosion following suspected attack



The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, was evacuated unharmed after an explosion at a western port, while a suspect was apprehended for allegedly throwing the explosive, local media reported.

Kishida was visiting the Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture on Saturday, to support his ruling party’s candidate in a local election. The explosion occurred just before he was to begin his speech, NHK said. No injuries were reported and Kishida was taken to Wakayama prefectural police headquarters, it added.

“Police are investigating the details of the loud explosive sound at the previous speech venue,” Kishida said when he resumed his campaign speeches.

“I am sorry for causing many people to be concerned. We are in the middle of an important election for our country. We must carry this on together.”

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Byelections in various regions for the lower house of Japan’s parliament are being held later this month.

The incident comes only nine months after former prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated while delivering a campaign speech in the western city of Nara. The assassination shocked the nation and a subsequent investigation found holes in Abe’s security and led to reinforcement of Japan’s police security measures.

The suspected attack also comes as a series of Group of Seven ministerial meetings begins this weekend ahead of the May summit that Kishida will host in Hiroshima.

A man believed to be a suspect was arrested at the scene. NHK footage showed several uniformed and plainclothes police officers gathered around the man, pressing him to the ground and dragging him to the side. The suspect, identified only as a young male, allegedly threw the explosive, NHK said.

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One witness told NHK she was among the crowd and saw something come flying from behind and that there was a sudden loud noise and she fled with her children. Another witness said people were screaming and that he saw someone being apprehended right before the explosion occurred.


A man at the scene told the broadcaster that “when we all stopped in front of the podium, someone started saying ‘culprit!’ or something, or ‘an explosive was thrown’, so everyone started dispersing fast.

“And then, about 10 seconds after the culprit was captured, there was a blast,” he said.

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