Annoyed teen punches lawmaker giving speech outside train station

Kyodo

House of Representatives lawmaker Yukichi Maeda was assaulted by an 18-year-old male Monday morning while making a speech in front of a train station in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, police said.

The teen hit the 42-year-old member of the Democratic Party of Japan in the stomach and twisted his right hand on a street in front of Gakuden Station on the Nagoya Railroad Line because he was apparently annoyed by the politician’s use of a loudspeaker, not due to any political motives, police said.

The youth was immediately arrested. He allegedly told police he hit Maeda to wrest the microphone from him.

Maeda, from the prefecture’s No. 6 district, makes it a rule to speak at various stations on Monday mornings, according to his supporters. He was alone when assaulted.

The attacker apparently was fed up with the lawmaker’s weekly speeches, investigators said.

Gakuden Station is small and usually has only one employee on duty. Maeda had driven a minicar to the site, his office said.

On Friday, fellow DPJ lawmaker Koki Ishii was stabbed to death allegedly by a rightwing extremist in front of his house in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. The man arrested in the slaying, Hakusui Ito, reportedly said he was angered when the victim refused to give him money.

Aichi police said the teen in Monday’s incident has no ties with rightist groups, but they were checking to see whether he may have been influenced by the stabbing.

Speaking to reporters outside Inuyama Police Station later in the day, Maeda said that while there appears to be no ideological motive behind the attack, “suppressing speech through violent means is unforgivable.”

According to Maeda’s office, he had planned to speak at the site for about one hour starting at 7:30 a.m.. He planned to attend a regular meeting of the prefectural chapter of the Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) afterward before attending Ishii’s funeral in Tokyo.

Investigators said the youth bicycled to the scene from his home nearby.

The lawmaker reportedly called police on his cell phone to report the incident.

According to a convenience store employee who witnessed the attack. He told the employee the teen appeared to be slightly drunk and that he was frightened because it was right after Ishii’s slaying.

Maeda was elected in 2000 and is currently serving his first term in the Lower House.