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Police hunt for suspects after war shrine is defaced with graffiti in Tokyo

In Tokyo, Japan, police are searching for suspects who spray-painted the word "toilet" on a stone pillar at Yasukuni Shrine, a site honoring Japan's war dead.

Japanese police are searching for suspects in the spray-painting of the word "toilet" on a Tokyo shrine that commemorates the country's war dead, in an apparent protest against the ongoing release of treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, news reports said Monday.

The red graffiti on a stone pillar at the entrance of Yasukuni Shrine was discovered early Saturday. In a video posted on Chinese social media, a man who identified himself as Iron Head criticized the discharge of wastewater from the damaged nuclear power plant into the ocean.

"Faced with the Japanese government's permission to discharge nuclear wastewater, can we do anything?" the man asks. "No, I will give them some color to see."


In another part of the video taken at night, he is seen apparently urinating on the pillar and using spray paint to write "toilet" in English.

Tokyo police are investigating at least two suspects, the person who appeared in the video and another who shot it, according to Japanese media including NHK public television and Kyodo News agency. Police believe the incident occurred late Friday after the shrine closed and that the perpetrator is believed to have already left Japan, they said.

Police declined to confirm the reports.

The discharge of wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has been opposed by fishing groups and neighboring countries, especially China, which imposed a ban on all imports of Japanese seafood immediately after the release began in August. The ban has particularly affected Japanese scallop growers and exporters to China.

Yasukuni Shrine honors about 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including convicted war criminals. Victims of Japanese aggression during the first half of the 20th century, especially China and the Koreas, see the shrine as a symbol of Japanese militarism. The countries criticize visits by Japanese lawmakers to the shrine as signs of their lack of remorse over Japan’s wartime actions.

The graffiti appeared to have been cleaned by Monday.

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