A Japanese right-wing activist was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison Wednesday for vandalizing a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.
Takeo Shimazu, 27, a member of a right-wing group, damaged a cenotaph for A-bomb victims at the center of Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park in July, using a hammer and chisel to scrape off a reference to Japan's war effort as a mistake.
Shimazu said he objected to an inscription on the memorial that says: "Let all the souls here rest in peace, as we will never repeat this mistake," according to the Hiroshima District Court
Judge Masaichiro Ihata called Shimazu's action "self-centered," "immature," and "highly calculated." The vandalism came just as Japan was preparing to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
"The defendant's attitude of resorting to violent means to carry his point is contemptible and undermines basic democratic principles. Such an action must be severely condemned," the judge said.
The restoration of the monument will be costly, said Tadayuki Okubo, spokesman for the Hiroshima city government. He did not specify an amount, reports the AP.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated