A 59-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for making an arson threat against a central Japan museum which displayed a statue symbolizing so-called wartime comfort women, police said.
Shuji Hotta, a truck driver living in Aichi Prefecture, has admitted to faxing the threat earlier in the month to organizers of the art festival Aichi Triennale 2019, the police said.
The exhibit titled "After 'Freedom of Expression?'," which featured a statue symbolizing women who were forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels, was pulled following a flurry of protests and threats.
The issue of comfort women -- a euphemism used in referring to those recruited mostly from other Asian countries to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II -- has been a major sticking point in Japan-South Korea relations, which have deteriorated to their worst level in recent years due to wartime history and trade issues.
The faxed handwritten message threatened to set fire to the museum using gasoline, drawing comparisons with the recent deadly arson attack on a Kyoto Animation Co. studio, according to the police.
Hotta emerged as a suspect after security camera footage at a convenience store in the prefecture showed him using a fax machine in the early morning of Aug. 2, they said.