Japan's Yasukuni Shrine for war dead vandalised by man claiming to be Chinese

People gathering to offer prayers at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Aug 15, 2019.
People gathering to offer prayers at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Aug 15, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese police have arrested a man claiming to be Chinese for throwing a black ink-like liquid at a building at the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Japan's neighbours see the shrine in Tokyo as a symbol of the country's former militarism, since it honours 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 last Thursday (Aug 15), the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender, but refrained from visiting in person.

The man arrested had thrown the liquid on a curtain at one of the buildings at the shrine.

Details such as the motives, address and occupation of the man arrested for property damage were unclear, a police official said on Monday (Aug 19).

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.