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TOTTORI (Kyodo) Despite an ordinance that took effect April 1 against gouging out patterns on the pristine Tottori Sand Dunes, 67 graffiti have been found, indicating visitors may be unaware of the new measure, prefectural officials said.

The Tottori Sand Dunes on the Sea of Japan coast are a main tourist draw for the prefecture.

Visitors in recent years have taken to etching out giant patterns in the sand, posing a constant headache for the local tourist industry.

To stamp the problem out, the prefectural assembly passed the ordinance slapping a ¥50,000 fine on people who draw a graffito 10 sq. meters or larger.

Twenty-five graffiti patterns were found in April and 42 in May. The prefecture has posted warnings in line with the ordinance at four of the 10 entrances to the dunes. People were caught 31 times carving patterns, but all of them claimed they did not know about the ordinance and were not fined.

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