Police officers arrest a man suspected to have thrown explosives as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was about to make a stump speech at a fishing port in Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, 15 April 2023. EFE/EPA/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY / ALTERNATE CROP

Japanese PM evacuated after explosion during port visit

Tokyo, Apr 15 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated on Saturday following an explosion during a port visit in the western city of Wakayama.

The explosion occurred around 11.30am local time while Kishida was preparing to give a speech at the Saikazaki port.

Kishida, who was not injured in the explosion, was immediately led away from the area by the security services.

The authorities arrested 24-year old Ryuji Kimura, who allegedly carried out the blast, using what eyewitnesses described as a cylindrical object that exploded similar to a smoke bomb, according to local media.

Kimura, who is believed to have been also carrying a second explosive, is a resident of Kawanishi City in western Hyogo Prefecture, according to his driver’s license, according to state broadcaster NHK.

He reportedly refused to speak to the authorities until accompanied by his lawyer.

At the time of his arrest, Kimura was carrying another metallic object, believed to be another explosive.

The prime minister was due to make an address in support of the electoral campaign of a candidate of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, when the suspect threw the supposed explosive in the area.

Footage aired by state broadcaster NHK from the scene showed a group of police officers holding down the alleged perpetrator, while other people fled the area amid commotion.

Kishida’s agenda for the day included a speech in Wakayama followed by another in front of the train station in the same city, and a third one in Chiba Prefecture.

The prime minister, however, clarified he would continue with his rallies scheduled for the day as well as the following day.

Political speeches on the streets are common in Japan, a country with a very low crime rate.

However, in July last year, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot in the back with a homemade firearm during an election speech in the city of Nara. EFE