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The Japan News/Yomiuri
The Japan News/Yomiuri
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Attack suspect sued central govt over th warted 2022 candidacy

Ryuji Kimura, the suspect in the recent attack on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, had filed a suit for damages from the central government, alleging that it was unfair he could not run in a 2022 election for reasons including his age.

Kimura, 24, is suspected of throwing an explosive device at a fishing port in Wakayama City toward Kishida, who was about to deliver a speech in support of a Liberal Democratic Party candidate. The police arrested Kimura at the scene.

According to court records, Kimura filed the claim with Kobe District Court in June 2022. He alleged that the election system violates the equality stipulated in the Constitution, because he could not run in a House of Councillors election due to his age and lack of funds.

Under the Public Offices Election Law, candidates for the upper house have to be at least 30 years old. In addition, Kimura had not been able to prepare the 3 million yen deposit required for candidacy.

Kimura, an unemployed resident of Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, was seeking compensation of 100,000 yen from the central government, claiming he had suffered emotional distress.

He represented himself at the trial.

In November 2022, the district court dismissed the claim, saying that the age requirement and deposit system were reasonable. Kimura appealed to the Osaka High Court, which is scheduled to rule in May.

According to investigative sources, metal parts that appear to be nuts were attached to the explosive device that was thrown at the fishing port in Wakayama City on Saturday.

Damage found 40m away

There is a possibility the lethal capabilities of the device could have been worse if the nuts had scattered in the explosion. The Wakayama prefectural police are looking into the structure of the two devices found at the scene.

Photos taken at the scene after the device had been thrown, but prior to the explosion, showed an about 20-centimeter-long pipe-like object with what appear to be nuts attached to a fuse-like mechanism.

Kishida was evacuated to safety by his security detail before the explosion.

A pipe-like object was found on a net covering a fish pond about 35 meters away from the point of explosion during a search conducted after the incident.

It is thought that the device flew over the crowd of about 200 people in the blast, hitting a warehouse about five meters from the pond before landing on the net.

An external wall of the warehouse had damage consistent with such an impact.

Kimura was taking another suspected explosive device from his bag when he was seized on the scene. The suspect also had a lighter.

The prefectural police believe he intended to light a second explosive after throwing the first device.

A second unexploded device was retrieved at the scene. It was also about 20 centimeters long with what appeared to be a fuse-like mechanism.

How deadly were devices?

How deadly were the explosive devices allegedly in the possession of Kimura?

One cylindrical object was thrown at Kishida just before his speech in Wakayama City on Saturday, while another was found at the scene.

"It's scary to think what could have happened if it had hit someone in the head," the 76-year-old leader of the Saikazaki Fisheries Cooperative Association said Monday.

A dent 5 centimeters in diameter was found on the wall of the warehouse at the Saikazaki fishing port.

The distance from the explosion site to the warehouse wall was about 40 meters. It is believed that the bomb exploded and hit the wall at a height of about three meters from the ground, then rebounded.

According to investigative sources, the bomb exploded and its trajectory sent it above the people who had gathered for Kishida's speech without hitting the 6-meter-high roof at the outdoor site.

"If it had flown a little lower, people might have been seriously injured or killed," said a senior Wakayama prefectural police official.

According to photographs taken at the site, the thrown bomb and the cylinder found at the site where Kimura was subdued were each about 20 centimeters long. They are nearly identical in shape and both have lids on each end. They have metal parts and a string that appears to be a fuse.

Pipe bombs are cylindrical and sealed at both ends. When these bombs are ignited, the pressure inside them increases, causing them to explode.

During a search of Kimura's home in Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, powder believed to be material for gunpowder, metal tubes and various tools were among items seized by investigators. Police suspect that Kimura, 24, made the explosive devices by himself.

"It is highly likely that black powder, which is used in fireworks for example, was used," as white smoke was visible in video footage, said firearms researcher Soichiro Takakura, 46.

Pipe bombs can be broadly classified by how they are detonated, whether by a lit fuse or a timer that sends an electrical current.

Takakura believes that the pipe bombs found in this incident had fuses. The bomb exploded about 50 seconds after it was thrown, during which the prime minister was able to evacuate.

"I suspect the bomb didn't explode immediately due to design errors or the condition of the explosives," Takakura said.

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