Suspect in Attack on Japan PM Kishida Attended Local Politician’s Meeting, Asked Questions

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police apprehend Ryuji Kimura in Wakayama Prefecture on Saturday.

The suspect arrested in relation to an incident in which a smoke bomb-like device was thrown toward Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Wakayama Prefecture on Saturday, lives in a quiet residential area in Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture.

Ryuji Kimura, 24, moved with his family to a two-story house in the area from a nearby apartment complex around 2008, according to a neighbor.

Kimura was arrested at the scene of the incident on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business.

A 65-year-old woman who lives nearby saw Kimura weeding the garden with his mother about a month ago. “I felt he was a good son,” she recalled. “He seemed to be a quiet person. He greeted me when we passed each other. He didn’t seem like the kind of person who could commit such an act.”

In his elementary school graduation book, Kimura expressed a desire to become a pastry chef or an inventor. He wrote, “I want to make a lot of sweets that people will want to keep secret,” while explaining his idea for chocolate confectionery.

A woman who was in the same year at Kimura’s elementary school said: “In elementary school, he was cheerful and showed leadership skills. But after entering junior high school, he suddenly stopped talking to anyone.”

According to an official of the Liberal Democratic Party in Kawanishi, Kimura attended a Sept. 24 meeting held by a then Kawanishi municipal assembly member affiliated with the LDP, attended by around 70 people.

Following the meeting, Kimura asked the assembly member questions such as, “Are Kawanishi assembly members well-paid?”

“It was unusual for a young man in his 20s to attend such a meeting,” the official said. “He seemed to have a strong interest in politics.”