Japan PM evacuated safely after explosion at speech

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A suspect reportedly tossed what seemed to be a smoke bomb at a public address in western Japan on Saturday, but Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was unharmed and was taken to an evacuation centre.

The premier sought shelter and was uninjured when a loud explosion was heard, said to national network NHK, while police arrested a guy nearby.

the event took place about 65 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of Osaka City, in the Wakayama Prefecture, in the Saikazaki Fishing Harbour.

The country was shocked by the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving leader of modern Japan, with a handmade pistol last July when he was running for a legislative election. This event prompted a reassessment of security for politicians who often interact with the public.

After exploring the waterfront on Saturday, Kishida had barely begun to make the address when the event took place, according to NHK. According to Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the address was planned to start at 11:40 (0240 GMT).

Following the incident, Kishida intended to carry on with his Saturday afternoon campaign agenda, the LDP said through its Twitter account.

Several police officers seemed to pin a guy to the ground before taking him from the scene, as shown on NHK camera as people fled the area. According to the media, the man seemed to be in his 20s or 30s.

Reuters was informed by a representative of the Wakayama prefectural police headquarters that he was unable to comment on the event.

According to a witness who spoke with NHK, “it gave me a bad feeling so we ran away unbelievably fast.” The witness spotted an item flying overhead. Then there was a really loud noise. My daughter cried as a result.

Next month, Kishida will host a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Hiroshima. On Sunday in the resort town of Karuizawa, the G7 foreign ministers will gather.