Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is safe and sound after being evacuated following an explosion as he prepared to deliver a speech at a fishing port in the west of the country, reports said. Japanese media on Saturday.
Several media outlets, including the Kyodo News Agency, reported that an object resembling a "smoke bomb" was thrown, but there appeared to be no injuries or visible damage at the scene. Television images showed a movement of the crowd, then the sound of an explosion followed by an emission of white smoke.
A person was arrested at the scene, at the Saikazaki fishing port in Wakayama prefecture, where Mr. Kishida was to deliver an election speech, according to the public television channel NHK, which broadcast images showing a man on the ground surrounded by several more as the crowd dispersed. The man was arrested on suspicion of "obstruction of business", according to the channel. No official confirmation was immediately issued by authorities, and police declined to comment.
In the election campaign
“I was in shock. My heart is still beating really hard," a woman at the scene told NHK. Another person told the TV station that a panic among the crowd had started even before the explosion, after someone said they saw an explosive device being thrown.
Mr. Kishida had just finished tasting fish at the venue and was about to address the crowd in support of a candidate from his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the upcoming by-elections for the lower house of parliament when the incident occurred.
“It is unfortunate that such an incident happened in the middle of an election campaign, which is the foundation of democracy. This is an unforgivable atrocity,” Hiroshi Moriyama, head of election strategy for the LDP, told NHK.
Japan has tightened its security arrangements after the assassination last July of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot and killed while speaking at an election campaign event. Mr Abe's device was relatively light-handed, and his assassination has sparked scrutiny of how politicians are protected.
His alleged killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, said he targeted Mr. Abe because of his alleged ties to the Moon sect, also known as the Unification Church.
This new incident comes as Japan hosts G7 ministerial meetings in the north and center of the country this weekend, and the summit of leaders of the countries of this group is to be held in May in Hiroshima.