TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Japan has arrested three Taiwanese women for spreading powder around Nijo Castle (二條城), a protected monument in Kyoto, a year ago, reports said Thursday.
They claimed they had done so to “clean the souls of the dead,” according to reports in the Japanese media.
The three women, one named as 53-year-old Liu (柳), the second as 41-year-old designer Lin (林), and the third unnamed, entered the Nijo Castle area at 10 a.m. on April 18 last year, the Apple Daily quoted the Sankei Shimbun as reporting.
They deposited a “tea-colored powder” at a total of 54 locations in the area, which is listed as a major cultural heritage site. Police closed off the area to visitors while they investigated the nature of the powder, which was found not to be toxic, reports said.
By the time they had analyzed surveillance camera footage and identified three women as suspects, they had already left the country.
However, the three women returned to Japan on Wednesday, precisely one year after the incident. They were arrested as soon as they arrived at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, and confessed to having been responsible for last year’s incident, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
They reportedly told police that their motivation had been religious, and that they had spread the powder to help the souls of the dead reach heaven.