August 19, 2019 / 11:12 AM / a year ago

Japan shrine for war dead vandalized by man claiming to be Chinese

Visitors pray at Yasukuni Shrine ahead of the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two in Tokyo, Japan, August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese police on Monday arrested a man claiming to be Chinese for throwing a black ink-like liquid on a curtain at one of the buildings of Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Japan’s neighbors see the shrine as a symbol of the country’s former militarism, since it honors 14 Japanese leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals, along with other war dead.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine on Thursday, the anniversary of Japan’s World War Two surrender, but refrained from visiting in person.

Details such as the motives, address and occupation of the man arrested for property damage were unclear, a police official said.

No one was immediately available for comment at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.

A picture on public broadcaster NHK’s website showed part of a rectangular white cloth hung across the front of one of the shrine’s main buildings besmirched with numerous black spots.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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