National / Crime & Legal

Japan revokes passport of man accused of vandalizing shrine with oily liquid

Kyodo

The government said Friday the Foreign Ministry has revoked the passport issued to a New York-based Japanese man who is accused by authorities of vandalizing a shrine near Tokyo with an oily liquid.

Police have obtained an arrest warrant for the 53-year-old doctor, whose passport was made invalid on Oct. 14, for allegedly damaging the Katori Shrine in Katori, Chiba Prefecture.

Investigative sources said the man apparently has permanent resident status in the United States. So while he does not have to return to Japan immediately, he is no longer able to go to other countries.

The police plan to urge the United States to hand him over to Japan in line with the Japan-U.S. extradition treaty, the sources said.

They are looking into the man’s possible involvement in similar cases of vandalism at shrines and temples across the country, including in Nara and Kyoto prefectures.

Under Japan’s passport law, the ministry can confiscate a suspect’s passport if an arrest warrant has been issued for them and their alleged crime carries a penalty of two years of imprisonment or longer.

The revocation came after the doctor refused to comply with the ministry’s order last month to give up his passport by Oct. 14.

The man, who claims to be the founder of a religious group, is suspected of sprinkling liquid at the shrine in late March, the sources said.

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