An unemployed man, arrested for illegal entry into a bookstore in Tokyo, has admitted to destroying books about Holocaust victim Anne Frank in various Tokyo public libraries. Police took into custody the man, said to be in his 30s, on March 7 after security camera footage showed him entering a bookstore where the vandalism occurred.
While the suspect told authorities that he “ripped books at libraries,” no motive behind the actions were given. According to police, his words were often gibberish and made no sense, prompting them to believe that he did not possess any concrete ideological motive for destroying the books. He was found to have entered the Junkudo bookstore found in Toshima Ward, Tokyo on February 19 and 22 to put up posters, which had no connection to Anne Frank or Nazi Germany, without the consent of the management. Video footage from the security cameras showed him loitering on the third floor, where copies of “The Diary of A Young Girl” were shelved. Two damaged copies of the publication were found in the bookstore on February 21. Investigators are now checking the damaged books for fingerprints.
More than 300 copies of Anne Frank’s diary and other related books have been found vandalized at 40 libraries in Tokyo. The Embassy of Israel donated 300 copies of “The Diary of a Young Girl” to replace the damaged ones, while other private individuals also gave copies of related books to other libraries. The Israeli Embassy has expressed its full confidence in the Japanese judicial system that the perpetrator will be punished accordingly. While investigations are ongoing, some libraries have removed their copies of Anne Frank books from the shelves and kept them on request counters for better safekeeping.