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Police launch investigation after firecrackers go off at Ise shrine before Kishida’s visit

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Ise Jingu shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture, on Wednesday.

Firecrackers concealed in a bush went off at Ise Grand Shrines about 40 minutes before Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the shrines in Ise, Mie Prefecture, on Wednesday.

An antenna and electric wires were found among debris from the exploded firecrackers, leading the prefectural police to believe they had been planted there and were set off remotely.

The police are investigating the incident.

According to investigative sources, the firecrackers exploded around 11:40 a.m. in a bush near a driveway in the Geku section of the shrines.

There were many visitors at the site at the time of the incident, but no one was hurt.

Police officers found antenna-like parts and wires among the debris from the firecrackers.

When police inspected the site earlier on Wednesday morning, nothing suspicious was reported, so either the firecrackers were planted after the initial search or the police overlooked them during the inspection.

Kishida arrived at around 12:20 p.m., about 40 minutes after the firecrackers went off. The prime minister worshipped at the shrines with other Cabinet members, as scheduled.

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Kenta Izumi and Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki also visited the shrines on Wednesday.

Police have enhanced the security for dignitaries in the wake of the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July last year.

About 1,100 police officers were positioned around Ise Grand Shrine on Wednesday.

It is unclear why the firecrackers were planted at this stage. The prefectural police are checking security cameras in the area and other possible leads in the ongoing investigation.