G7 meeting: Japan’s PM vows to ensure safety
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, has vowed to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Group of Seven (G7) leaders and senior ministers visiting his country through next month.
Kishida made the pledge a day after he was evacuated unhurt from an apparent smoke bomb attack during an election campaign stop at a fishing port in western Japan.
Speaking to reporters, Kishida said Japan must not allow acts of violence that attack the foundation of democracy.
No motive has been announced for the apparent attack in which media said one police officer was slightly injured.
The suspect in Saturday’s incident, identified by police as 24 year-old Ryuji Kimura, was also carrying a knife when he was arrested, as well as a possible second explosive device he dropped at the scene after bystanders and police tackled him, Kyodo news agency reported.
Kishida’s bomb scare in Wakayama prefecture near Osaka was an eerie reminder of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last July.
Abe’s killing shocked Japan, where gun crimes are exceedingly rare, and prompted a review of security for politicians, who routinely mingle with the public.
Japanese politicians are campaigning for by-elections on April 23 for the lower house of parliament.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Saturday that police have been instructed to boost security and the government would do what is necessary to ensure security when Kishida hosts the May G7 summit in Hiroshima.
“As politicians, we have to go out and campaign sometimes – it means we have to be exposed to the public,” Britain’s secretary of state for energy security, Grant Shapps, told reporters in Sapporo.
“But I am quite sure that in the context of the G7 with our prime minister and other world leaders coming to Japan, we are perfectly safe,” Shapps said.
G7 foreign ministers gather on Sunday in the resort city of Karuizawa.