• Kyodo

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Todaiji, one of the most prestigious Buddhist temples in Japan, has been vandalized with some type of liquid, police said Monday.

Similar instances of vandalism were found at another temple and a shrine elsewhere in Nara Prefecture between Sunday and Monday, and the police are investigating whether the cases are related. They are also analyzing the composition of the liquid.

Last year, several temples and shrines across the country, including Todaiji, were damaged with an oily liquid.

In the latest case, visitors found liquid sprayed in two areas within the temple complex, including a large copper vase in the main hall, at around 11:40 a.m. Monday.

Todaiji is famous for housing a 15-meter-high statue of the Great Buddha and is among the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

A Shinto shrine in the city of Kashihara was found to have been vandalized with a colorless liquid at around 8:40 a.m. Monday, the police said. Areas affected at the Kashihara Jingu complex included an offertory box and a stone lantern. The police are investigating the incident as a possible case of property destruction.

On Sunday, visitors at Kofukuji, another temple in the city of Nara, said they saw liquid that had been sprayed near its Buddhist statues, which are designated as national treasures, and at other places on the premises.

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