Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, survived an assassination attempt on Saturday, April 15 after an explosion occurred at a venue where he was giving an outdoor speech.
Local news agency Kyodo news reported that a man had been arrested after throwing “what appeared to be a smoke bomb.”
Video footage released by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK showed members of the public fleeing and a man being arrested following the explosion.
The footage showed multiple police officers, holding the suspect on the ground. Other pictures showed a silver cylinder that was thrown in Kishida’s direction.
The dramatic scenes took place in the city of Wakayama, shortly after a visit by Kishida to the local Saikazaki Fishing Port.
The circumstances surrounding the suspected attack drew immediate comparisons to the assassination of Japanese former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot in July last year during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot while giving a campaign speech to a small crowd near a railway station.
The attack on Abe had shocked Japan, a country with a low crime rate, and an Asian nation rarely associated with political and gun violence.
Kishida too had been giving a political speech, in his case, in support of his ruling party’s candidate in a local by-election for the House of Representatives in a Wakayama district.
Moment Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida escapes assassination attempt after man launches smoke bomb towards his direction during campaign event (video)
A city council member who was at the scene told NHK that a “cylindrical silver object” had flown “about two meters in front of me” shortly before the explosion was heard.
Another eyewitness also reported seeing “a silver cylinder,” saying it “was thrown and then shone a bit before a big sound was heard.”
Footage from NHK showed what appeared to be a young man wearing glasses, a mask, and a gray rucksack standing among a crowd of people gathered to see Kishida’s speech.
Before the man is apprehended, he can be seen holding a silver cylinder and making hand gestures as though he is trying to light it, according to NHK.
Japanese officials said later on Saturday that Kishida was safe and unharmed.