A 72-year-old man was arrested 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 2:10 p.m. on May 19, and making holes in a "shinboku" -- a sacred tree -- by nailing the straw doll to it.
The 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 4-centimeter-deep holes 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."