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Get him to safety

Man throws explosive device at Japanese prime minister

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated unharmed from a campaign event on Saturday after a man allegedly threw an explosive device at him, moments before he was slated to give a speech. 

The incident occurred in the city of Wakayama, where NPR reported that Kishida was "stumping for a candidate in upcoming by-elections." A video of the incident posted on Twitter shows a small, cylindrical object come into frame as it is tossed near the prime minister. According to eyewitnesses, the device landed just over three feet away from Kishida. 

The video then shows Kishida's security detail rush to cover the device, with one man appearing to cover it with a briefcase. At the same time, other members of Kishida's security team surround the prime minister and whisk him away. 

Additional footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK shows the aftermath, when police move to subdue the suspect, identified as a 24-year-old man. As the suspect was being detained, the device went off, and "a loud explosion was heard, and white smoke rose from the site," The Japan Times reported. The suspect was taken to a local police precinct. No injuries from the explosion were reported. 

Kishida would later go ahead with the planned speech, NHK reported. 

Security protocols for Japanese officials have been under heightened scrutiny since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a gunman last July. Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan, and a police report concluded that better security could have likely prevented Abe's death, NPR noted. 

Kishida himself had blamed the lackluster police response for the assassination, CBS News reported, saying at the time, "There were problems with the security measures." Kishida added that he had pressed public safety officials "to carry out a thorough inspection and fix what needs to be fixed, while also studying examples in other countries."