Tokyo Police Arrest Chinese National for Yasukuni Shrine Vandalism; Two Other Men Suspected of Involvement Left Japan In June

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau arrested a 29-year-old Chinese national on Tuesday on suspicion of vandalizing Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in May.

The MPD identified the man as a Chinese national living in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, whose occupation is unknown. He was alleged to have vandalized a stone pillar of the shrine by writing the word “Toilet” on it in spray paint.

According to sources connected with the investigation, the Chinese man, along with two other Chinese men, committed the vandalism by spraying red paint on the surface of a stone pillar near the main entrance of the shrine around 10 p.m. on May 31. The name of the shrine is carved on the surface of the stone pillar.

The Public Security Bureau identified the man based on clues including images from security cameras near the site.

At the time of the incident, two paper sheets, on which were written messages in Chinese saying things like, “People of the world unite,” were pasted on komainu guardian dog statues on the grounds of the shrine.

The Public Security Bureau is investigating whether these messages were connected with the vandalism for which the man was arrested.

The bureau also obtained arrest warrants for the two other Chinese men on the same charge and are trying to determine their whereabouts.

Investigators said that both of them had departed Haneda Airport for China on June 1 and thus are no longer in Japan.