Japanese authorities have arrested a would-be torch assassin who allegedly tried to kill the Tokyo Olympic flame with a water gun, in an aquatic attack captured on video.
The brazen shooting occurred during the Olympic torch relay through Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan on Sunday, authorities say.
Footage captured from the incident shows a lone gunwoman standing with a crowd of onlookers as the torch runner carries the flame down the street. The woman can be seen drawing her pistol-style water gun and opening fire, sending a thin stream of liquid at the unsuspecting torch runner.
“No Olympics! Stop the Games!” she shouts at him in Japanese, before she is confronted by security.
Her water gun fails to extinguish the flame of the torch, which has its own internal fuel source.
Kayoko Takahashi, 53, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business, according to Mito Police.
The suspect was charged because she was “deliberately aiming at the runner and interfering with the relay,” Mito deputy police chief Noriaki Nagatsuka told Vice News.
“You can’t shoot water at people for no good reason,” Nagatsuka said. “She clearly wasn’t playing around. This isn’t child’s play.”
Police say the suspect admitted to the shooting and defended it as an act of protest.
The runner, a 77-year-old man, was carrying the torch to the finish line for the day’s relay at the time.
There were no delays as a result of the incident, Japan’s Mainichi newspaper reports.
No injuries have been reported to date.
The Tokyo 2020 Games are facing fierce opposition from many in Japan, amid concerns that it is being pushed through despite the threat of COVID-19 and slow vaccination rates in the country.
There are also concerns that the event will import the virus from other countries. Two Ugandan athletes and one Serbian athlete have already tested positive since arriving in Japan in recent weeks.
Pandemic measures for Tokyo Olympics to silence spectators
The Games were delayed by a year due to the pandemic, and will now be held with a variety of restrictions. For example, organizers have banned fans from cheering in the stands at events, and athletes are being told to avoid contact with members of other teams during the Games. Organizers have also decided not to hand out condoms at the Olympic Village in hopes of discouraging athletes from having sex.
Tokyo officials announced on Tuesday that the remainder of the torch relay will be held away from public roads and spectators, citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. They had previously announced that half of the relay would be held away from the public.
The Games begin on July 23.
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