Hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank and related books were vandalized in libraries in Tokyo, news reports said Friday.
Library officials notified police after some pages of at least 265 copies of the diary and books about Anne Frank were found to have been ripped out at 31 libraries since January.
Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga described the damage to the books, which were stored on open bookshelves, as "extremely regrettable and shameful."
The incident prompted the U.S.-based Jewish human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center to call for an investigation.
"The geographic scope of these incidents strongly suggest an organized effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in the World War II Holocaust," said the center's associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper.
"I know from my many visits to Japan, how much Anne Frank is studied and revered by millions of Japanese," Cooper added.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now