Assassination Bid on Japanese PM Fumio Kishida Foiled, Man Who Hurled Smoke Bomb Arrested

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An apparent assassination attempt on Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida failed on Saturday but raised serious questions about the failure of top level security in the country.

The assassination bid happened during an election event which Kishida attended in Wakayama. The prime minister was evacuated unharmed and a young man who threw a smoke bomb at the prime minister was arrested on the scene.

Japan’ prime minister Fumio Kishida
Japan’ prime minister Fumio Kishida Twitter

"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," the prime minister later told national broadcaster NHK.

Attack on Fumio Kishida
Attack on Fumio Kishida Reuters

According to a witness, a man threw something similar to a pipe as Kishida was making a speech. The witness said they saw the object flying through the air, triggering people to run from the spot 'unbelievably fast'. "Then we heard a really loud noise," the person added.

'Determined to Carry On'

"We are now holding elections, the most important part of democracy for our country. I have to ask each and every one of you, who are the main players in this country, to clearly show your thoughts. With that thought in mind, I continue to stand on the stage of street speeches. I am determined to carry this important election through to the end, working together with the people," Kishida later tweeted.

Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest serving prime minister, was shot dead last July when he making a campaign speech in the city of Nara. The security officials at the scene apprehended the assassin, who has been identified as 41-year-old former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Who is the Attacker?

Footage released by NHK showed the suspect standing in the crowd moments before the attack. He was seen wearing glasses, a mask, and was carrying a rucksack. He was seen holding a silver cylinder and trying to light the object before throwing it.

The identity of the attacker has not been released yet. Reports said the man has been charged with forcible obstruction of business. According to local reports, Wakayama Nishi Police officials said they will release more information on the suspect later.