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Woman in east Japan accused of trying to fire water gun at Olympic torch

The Ibaraki Prefectural Police Headquarters is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kotone Nirasawa)

MITO -- A 53-year-old woman has been arrested by police in this east Japan city after she allegedly tried to shoot liquid from a water gun at an Olympic torch runner during the relay's leg around a local park on July 4.

    Kayoko Takahashi, an unemployed resident of the prefectural city of Hitachi, was arrested at the scene by Mito Police Station officers on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business after allegedly attempting to discharge a water gun at an Olympic torch relay runner as he traveled around Senba Park in the Ibaraki Prefecture capital of Mito.

    According to police, Takahashi has admitted to the allegations, and said that she did it to protest the Olympics being held.

    The arrest took place at about 7:40 p.m. on July 4. The suspect shouted slogans including "No Olympics. Stop the games," and then stood on the sidelines to fire liquid from a water gun as the torch relay runner, a 77-year-old man, passed.

    Police believe the torch relay was obstructed by the act. Officers assigned as security for the event realized what was happening, and restrained Takahashi at the scene. Police station officials and other sources said that the runner involved was the anchor of the relay, and was headed for the finish line for the day. There were reportedly no delays or other issues arising from the commotion.

    (Japanese original by Toru Morinaga, Mito Bureau)

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