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Japanese Prime Minister Attacked With Pipe Bomb at Fishing Port

Saikazaki fishing harbor, Wakayama, Japan
Saikazaki fishing harbor, Wakayama, Japan (Kasai Noy / CC BY SA 4.0)

Published Apr 16, 2023 1:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, an attacker threw a smoke bomb at Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he attended a campaign event for a member of his party at a fishing port in Wakayama, Japan. 

As Kishida toured the Saikazaki fishing harbor, a young man tossed an object behind the prime minister. Kishida had his back turned and did not see the object, but an aide standing near Kishida batted the device away and then shoved the prime minister in the opposite direction. 

Attendees who saw the beginning of the attack began to flee the scene, and someone in the crowd shouted that it was a bomb. Two older bystanders and local police immediately tackled the suspected attacker, and the object - believed to be a small pipe bomb or smoke bomb - detonated loudly. The prime minister was unharmed and was evacuated; one police officer sustained slight injuries. 

"That something like this happened in the middle of an election campaign that constitutes the foundation of democracy is regrettable. It's an unforgivable atrocity," said Hiroshi Moriyama, a member of Mr. Kishida's party, in a statement Saturday. 

Police have identified the suspect as Ryuji Kimura, 24, a resident of nearby Kawanishi.

The attack reinforced concerns about the security of political campaigns in Japan: The previous prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was shot twice and killed during a campaign speech in Nara, Japan in July 2022. Nonetheless, Kishida has promised to continue his itinerary without changes.

Top image: Saikazaki fishing harbor, Wakayama, Japan (Kasai Noy / CC BY SA 4.0)