Stains found on World Heritage in Todaiji

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Stains are seen on the Great Buddha Hall, a national treasure at Todaiji temple in Nara city on Friday.

NARA (Jiji Press) — Stains from what appears to be a liquid have been discovered on a part of a building in Todaiji temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Nara City.

The Nara prefectural police department is investigating the incident as a case of suspected violation of the cultural properties protection law, after receiving a report from a Todaiji staff worker around 5:10 p.m. Thursday.

According to the police, two stains were found on the south side of the building, Daibutsu-den, or the Great Buddha Hall, which houses the Vairocana Buddha statue.

The roughly 80-centimeter-wide stains, located about 5 meters apart, caused the wooden foundations of the building to turn a dark color.

The stains do not emit strong odors, the police said.

The police are working to identify the substance used in making the stains, and analyzing security camera footage.

Todaiji was registered as a World Heritage site in 1998 as part of Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

Daibutsu-den, designated as a national treasure by the Japanese government, also suffered damage from liquids poured onto it in 2015 and 2016.