An art exhibition that sparked controversy for featuring a statue symbolizing "comfort women" roughly two years ago will open in Tokyo on June 25, the organizers said Thursday.
The exhibition titled "After 'Freedom of Expression?'" opened on Aug. 1, 2019 as part of the Aichi Triennale 2019 in the central Japan city of Nagoya, but it was closed three days later over security concerns amid multiple threats to the festival and complaints.
The upcoming exhibition is scheduled to be held at a gallery in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward through July 4, with reservations required and a plan for staggered entries as safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Following its initial closure, the exhibition reopened for seven days in October 2019 with tighter security and limited numbers of visitors.
It showcased 23 works including the statue symbolizing comfort women, many of them Korean, who were recruited to work in Japan's wartime military brothels against their will, as well as a piece on the Japanese imperial system.
In addition to the historical issue, which has been a major sticking point in Japan-South Korea relations, the exhibition also drew public attention to the issue of freedom of expression versus censorship, with local politicians in Aichi Prefecture taking opposite sides.
Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura, who headed the steering committee of the art festival, pushed for the reopening of the exhibition, while Takashi Kawamura, the mayor of Nagoya, the prefectural capital of Aichi, staged a sit-in protest at the reopening, criticizing the event as "violence to hijack public opinion in the name of freedom of expression."