The newly painted Saipan Katori Jingu Shrine and newly painted prayer house were recently desecrated with graphic images by still unknown suspect or suspects.
Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang called for respect, especially since the annual Autumn Festival hosted by the Japanese Society of Northern Marianas at the Sugar King Park, is just a few days a way.
Saipan Mayor’s Office operations director Joann T. Aquino said that their efforts are all for naught if the lack of respect is prevalent.
“We’re doing our best along with [the Marianas Visitors Authority] to beautify the parks, and Mayor Apatang is asking for the public’s cooperation in helping us to deter these actions from happening. Help us beautify the park and just respect the shrine,” Aquino said.
“We wish this won’t happen again, because the [Katori Jingu Shrine Ceremony and annual Autumn Festival] is taking place on Saturday,” he added.
Had the Saipan Mayor’s Office decided not to clean up the site, the vandalized property could have gone unnoticed up to the day of the Autumn Festival itself.
“We have to repaint over it again. We would have to rehire the contractor and go over it again in preparation for this Saturday. The only thing we can do is to inform the public of what happened today,” said Aquino.
Saipan Mayor’s Office safety officer Mac Chargualaf has already reported the incident to the authorities.
“We’re having the ceremony this Saturday at the Katori Jingu Shrine, before the annual Japanese Festival, starting 11am onwards,” said Aquino, who seemed to cheer up a little when asked about the event.
The prayer house is a popular vandalism site, having been vandalized multiple times in the past.
Saipan Tribune has tried to get the sentiments of Japanese Consul Toshio Matsumura but he has yet to issue a statement about the issue.