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Japan“s Kishida vows safety of G7 meetings after “smoke bomb“ attack


Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech to support his ruling party?s candidate in a local election, near a train station in Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture, south-western Japan April 15, 2023, in this photo released by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo via REUTERS

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a day after he was evacuated from an apparent attack, vowed on Sunday to do everything possible to ensure the safety of meetings of the Group of Seven industrial powers 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.

The suspect, 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 agency 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 routinely 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.

G7 foreign ministers gather on Sunday for a meeting in the resort city of Karuizawa, while the group’s environment and energy ministers are meeting this weekend in Sapporo in northern Japan.