‘Possible gunpowder’ found in home of suspect in Kishida explosion incident

(Update 1: Adds details, minor edits, changes headline, lede)

Tokyo, Apr 16 (EFE).- Japan police on Sunday found a substance believed to be gunpowder during a search of the home of the man arrested for allegedly throwing an explosive at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during an electoral rally.

Public broadcaster NHK reported the find, citing police, and added that also seized were the suspect’s personal computer and mobile phone, as well as more than 10 boxes of materials.

A family member who shares the house with the suspect said he had been home the previous night, but in the morning he was gone, it said.

The police began a search of the house of 24-year-old Ryuji Kimura in the city of Kawanishi, Hyogo prefecture, early Sunday morning, ending at 9 am local time.

They asked some residents to evacuate and others to stay inside due to the risk of finding explosives, and set up a cordon around the perimeter to prevent access, NHK added.

The police search follows the incident on Saturday in which Kishida was preparing to deliver a stump speech in support of his ruling Liberal Democratic party’s candidate in a local election at Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture at around 11.30 am local time (02:30 GMT Saturday).

Footage shows the leader with his back to the crowd when a cylindrical object, believed to have been a pipe bomb, is hurled through the air in his direction. Kishida is immediately removed from the scene, and two men in the crowd tussle with the suspect amid screams. An explosion is heard moments later and white smoke rises as the crowd scatters.

Kishida, who was believed to have been standing about 10 meters away from the suspect who was among the crowd of 200, was unharmed and the suspect was arrested on the spot. One police officer suffered minor injuries, NHK said.

“A violent act taking place during elections, the bedrock of democracy, can never be tolerated,” Kishida told reporters at his official residence on Sunday, according to Kyodo news.

He also called for tighter security during the by-elections expected to be held on Apr. 23.

At the time of his arrest, Kimura was carrying what is believed to be a second pipe bomb, and is now in custody, although he has refused to talk until his lawyer is present.

The incident on Saturday took place after former prime minister Shinzo Abe died last July after being shot with a homemade firearm while delivering a stump speech in the city of Nara. EFE


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