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Japanese PM Kishida unharmed after explosion heard at port where he was due to speak

A person (bottom) is detained after throwing an apparent "smoke bomb" in Wakayama on April 15, 2023, where Japan's prime minister was due to give a speech.
STR
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JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images
A person (bottom) is detained after throwing an apparent "smoke bomb" in Wakayama on April 15, 2023, where Japan's prime minister was due to give a speech.

Updated April 15, 2023 at 12:34 PM ET

SEOUL — Japanese authorities evacuated Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to safety after an explosion was heard at a port where he was due to give a stump speech.

One police officer was slightly injured, and a suspect was detained for allegedly throwing an explosive during the campaign event.

Kishida was in the city of Wakayama, stumping for a candidate in upcoming by-elections. Public broadcaster NHK reported that an object was thrown and there was an explosion and white smoke. NHK reported that the detained suspect was a 24-year-old man from the city of Kawanishi.

NHK video shows half a dozen security personnel pinning a person wearing olive-colored pants and sneakers to the ground, before dragging him away.

Kishida later went ahead with his planned speech, NHK reported.

Japan updated VIP protection procedures following the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last July.

A police report following Abe's shooting concluded that with better planning and on-site security, Abe's killing could have been prevented.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.

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