In August 2020, a Canadian teenager was questioned by the police in Japan after allegedly defacing a UNESCO-listed temple in the city of Nara, Japan. The teen, who was visiting Japan as a tourist with her family, had reportedly used a black marker to write her name and draw a picture on the temple wall. The vandalism caused significant damage to the historic temple, which is protected as a World Heritage Site. Under Japanese law, a person found guilty of vandalism can be punished with a fine or up to 10 years in prison.
The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo released a statement condemning the vandalism and reiterating its commitment to “preserving cultural heritage sites everywhere.” The family of the Canadian teen also released an apology statement and vowed to take responsibility for the damage done. The Japanese police have not released any further information about the case or whether the Canadian teen will face any criminal charges.