Man crashes car into barricade near Israeli embassy in Tokyo, driver arrested

Suspect, a member of right-wing group, apologizes for lightly injuring cop; car slammed into barrier about 100 meters from mission building

Police officers examine a car, rear, which crashed into a temporary barricade near the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo, November 16, 2023. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)
Police officers examine a car, rear, which crashed into a temporary barricade near the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo, November 16, 2023. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

TOKYO, Japan — Japanese police arrested a man on Thursday after a car crashed through a barrier near the Israeli embassy in Tokyo, local media reported.

Video footage appeared to show that the Daihatsu car was driven through a temporary barrier and into a fence at an intersection around 100 meters (109 yards) from the embassy.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said they arrested a 53-year-old man on suspicion of obstructing official duties. The man was unemployed and a member of a right-wing group, police said.

Tokyo police said the suspect suddenly drove into the street where police officers were on duty at the barricade set up to secure the Israeli Embassy, injuring an officer in his 20s. His injury was not life-threatening, police said. Media reports said he had a hand injury.

The alleged motive and whether the embassy was targeted are not known.

Photographs and video footage showed a black compact vehicle crashed into a guardrail by the sidewalk, with debris scattered on the street. The crash site is near an intersection about 100 meters from the embassy in an area with many offices and restaurants.

The Kyodo News agency reported that the suspect admitted to police he rammed into the barricade, and that he was sorry that the police officer was injured.

Right-wing groups in Japan are generally not known for being critical of Israel or antisemitic.

Police declined to comment and the Israeli embassy could not be reached.

“Around 11:00 am, I heard a huge bang, so I went outside to check. Then I saw a policeman injured and in pain near the traffic barrier and it looked like he was bleeding. There was also a black car parked nearby,” a restaurant employee working near the embassy told public broadcaster NHK.

Countries around the world have stepped up security around Israeli diplomatic missions since war between Israel and Hamas was sparked by the Gazan terror group’s shock October 7 assault on southern Israel, in which marauding gunmen killed some 1,200 people in Israel and abducted 240.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and remove it from power in Gaza where the group has ruled since 2007.

On October 21 four people were arrested after a pipe bomb exploded near the Israeli embassy in Cyprus, causing little damage and no injuries, police said.

On October 14, an employee of the Israeli embassy in China was attacked in Beijing. A foreign suspect was arrested and authorities have not said anything about the case since.

There has also been a sharp rise in antisemitic as well as Islamophobic incidents around the world.

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