Ukraine war: Japanese man arrested over Vladimir Putin straw doll nailed to shrine tree
- Mitsunobu Hino, 72, is accused of trespassing and making holes in a sacred tree to put up a figure with a note wishing death to the Russian leader
- Police have confirmed similar Putin straw dolls at more than 10 shrines in the city of Matsudo, near Tokyo, since May
A 72-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly nailing a straw doll bearing the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin to a sacred tree at a Shinto shrine near Tokyo, police said.
Mitsunobu Hino is suspected of property damage and trespassing, the police in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, said.
The doll features a picture of Putin’s face and came with a note in its breast wishing death to the Russian leader.
Hino is accused of trespassing on the grounds of Matsudo’s Mikazuki Shrine at around 2.10pm on May 19, and making holes in a shinboku – a sacred tree – by nailing the straw doll to it.
Police have confirmed similar Putin straw dolls at more than 10 shrines in the eastern Japan city since May, and said there is a strong chance the perpetrator is the same due to resemblances in the dolls’ sizes and the handwriting on the accompanying notes.
Security camera footage from the shrine’s grounds captured a man who appears to be Hino putting an item that looks like a straw doll into his bag and going up the stairs.
Two holes that are 4cm (1.6 inches) deep have been left in the sacred tree.
The shrine’s history stretches back over 800 years.
Nobuo Shibuya, an 81-year-old lay representative, said: “It’s unthinkable that someone would nail down something like this in a place where people come to pray for good health.”