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Tokyo war shrine hit by arson: Official

Last Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 22:04

Tokyo: Tokyo`s controversial Yasukuni shrine, often seen as a symbol of Japan`s wartime aggression, had its main wooden gate set on fire early Monday in a
suspected arson attack, a shrine official said.

A small fire scorched the "Gate of gods", which stands
about 13 metres tall and 28 metres wide, at around
4:00 AM local time, the official said.

The gate, built in 1934 and adorned with huge
gold-leaf chrysanthemums on both portals, was not seriously
damaged as a shrine security guard quickly put the blaze out,
she said.

"We believe it was arson because our security footage
shows somebody spraying liquid on the gate before the fire
started," she said.

Police later found two glass containers that appeared
to have contained some kind of fuel oil, local media said.

Japanese media reported that a posting on Twitter,
apparently by a Korean resident of Japan, had threatened a
fire at the shrine.

However, a Tokyo police spokesman played down the

"We are aware of such an Internet posting before the
incident," he said.

"But we see threats against the emperor or the prime
minister posted on the Internet everyday. We investigate all
such cases."

The Yasukuni shrine is a Shinto sanctuary dedicated to
2.5 million Japanese killed in wars, including 14 of Japan`s
top World War II criminals.

It is regularly a source of friction with Japan`s
neighbours - particularly China and South Korea - who say it
honours those responsible for terrible crimes.


First Published: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 22:04
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