EXPLOSION rocks campaign rally as JAPANESE Prime Minister attacked with SMOKE BOMB

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JAPANESE Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida when an object suspected to be a smoke bomb was thrown in his direction as he gave a speech in Wakayama, Japan, on April 15.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated unharmed Saturday after an explosion at a venue where he was giving an outdoor speech.

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 men, believed to be police officers, holding the suspect on the ground. Other pictures showed a silver cylinder that appeared to have been thrown in Kishida’s direction.

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Local news agency Kyodo news reported that a man had been arrested after throwing “what appeared to be a smoke bomb.”

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 the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot in July last year during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara.

The attack on Abe had shocked a nation that is rarely associated with political and gun violence.

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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.

Campaigning is currently underway in Japan’s nationwide local election.

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.

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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. NHK reported that he had been taken to another location where he was surrounded by police officers who were guarding him.

The broadcaster said a man had been arrested on “suspicion of forcible obstruction of business” and taken to the Wakayama West Police Station for questioning.

In Japan, “forcible obstruction of business” is a crime – “to obstruct another person’s business by force.” It is punishable by a jail term of up to three years and a fine of 500,000 yen.

Wakayama Nishi Police Station officials told CNN that they had secured a suspect but are unable to release the suspect or any other information yet; they said more details would be announced later.

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