Explosive Device in Kishida Attack Flew at Speed of Over 140 kph

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ryuji Kimura was seized immediately before an explosion at a fishing port in Wakayama City on April 15 as a large number of audience members are seen at the site.

The blast from the explosive device used in the recent attack on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida likely sent bomb parts flying through the air at speeds of over 140 kph, according to an expert.

The lid and body of the explosive device are estimated to have flown about 1.8 meters above the ground in the blast. “If the parts had hit someone in the head, there could have been fatalities,” the expert said.

The attack occurred at 11:27 a.m. on April 15 at the Saikazaki fishing port in Wakayama City, where Kishida was scheduled to deliver a speech in support of a Liberal Democratic Party candidate running in the House of Representatives by-election.

Ryuji Kimura, an unemployed man from Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, who was among the crowd of people waiting to hear the prime minister speak, is suspected of throwing a pipe-like explosive device toward Kishida, who was standing about 10 meters away. Kimura, 24, was arrested at the scene.

The wall of a warehouse about 40 meters away from the explosion point has damage about 3.4 meters above the ground that is thought to have been caused by the impact of the body of the makeshift bomb when the blast sent it flying through the air.

Also, the lid-like object was lodged in the wall of a shed about 60 meters away, 2 meters above the ground.

Based on the sound of the explosion in video footage of the attack, “the part believed to be the lid is thought to have come off the pipe at the moment of the explosion,” said Hidehiro Hata, assistant professor at Kumamoto University and an expert on explosions and shock mechanisms.

Hata estimated that the lid-like part rose at an angle of 13 degrees from the explosion point, traveling at over 140 kph before hitting the shed just over a second later. The device exploded 51 seconds after it was thrown, and many people in the crowd were within 5 to 15 meters of the explosion point, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun analysis of video footage.

The bomb parts likely flew over the crowd about 1.8 meters above the ground, according to Hata. It is estimated that the blast thrust the pipe part into the air at an angle of about 12 degrees from the explosion point, at over 140 kph and 1.8 meters above the spot where people had been standing.

A 70-year-old fisherman who was standing between the explosive and Kimura when the blast occurred sustained minor injuries to his back.

It is believed that he was hit by a piece of the explosive device. The man said it felt “like being hit by a rock.”

“The parts were definitely flying at speeds of over 100 kph, but it depends on the shape of the fragments and other factors,” Hata said.