There Can Be No Justification for Acts of Terrorism

The man who threw an explosive device at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had expressed grievances about the electoral system and politics before he carried out the attack. Society as a whole should share the view that violence will not be tolerated for any reason.

The 24-year-old man arrested in connection with the attack tried to run in the House of Councillors election last year, but could not do so because candidates for the upper house must be at least 30 years old. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the central government over the eligibility.

In the trial, the man criticized a decision Kishida made, without Diet deliberation, to hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot last July. He also reportedly expressed disapproval of the deposit required to file a candidacy and the hereditary succession of politicians.

The man did not have a regular job and tended to seclude himself at home. The motive for the attack is not yet clear. However, if his self-centered anger got amplified during isolation and developed into violence against politicians, he must be extremely selfish.

If people resort to violence because they cannot make their point, democracy is not possible. Terrorism should be severely condemned.

After the attack on Abe, public attention was drawn to ties between politicians and the Unification Church, which is officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Some people backed the defendant in the Abe shooting case because his mother had made large donations to the religious group. People sent him gifts and signed a petition seeking a reduced sentence, among other things.

Is it possible that such sympathy may have encouraged the suspected perpetrator in the recent attack? Terrorism should never be given even the slightest justification.

So far, the police investigation has no confirmation that the man had accomplices, or that there is a link with specific organizations. He is believed to be a “lone offender.”

Among items found in the man’s home were tools and powdery substances that could be used to make gunpowder. Police suspect the man made his own explosive devices. In the Abe shooting, the defendant also acted alone and the weapon used was a gun he had made himself.

There is a lot of information on how to make explosives and guns on the internet. It is difficult to detect signs of attacks when perpetrators plan terrorist acts without telling anyone about their actions and make weapons themselves.

Police need to step up surveillance of such things as social media to detect people who obsessively post complaints about dignitaries or follow them around. It is also essential that efforts be made to remove from the internet information about how to make explosives and guns.

It is important to repeatedly convey at home and in schools how absurd it is to express grievances through violence.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2023)