Man in custody after embassy attack

Jan. 9, 2012 at 12:05 AM
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SEOUL, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- South Korean police Monday held a Chinese man accused of tossing four Molotov cocktails at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, authorities said.

The 38-year-old man had claimed his grandmother had been forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese forces during World War II, Yonhap News Agency reported. There was no report of injury or property damage arising from the incident.

The man was captured after he allegedly threw the firebombs, which struck the embassy wall, police official Park Chan-woo said.

The man, identified as being from China's Guangzhou province, was in South Korea on a tourist visa, police said. The man said prior to arriving in South Korea he was in Japan for two months to help victims of Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The man had claimed he had been responsible for setting fire last month to the door of Japan's Yasukuni Shrine, which honors those who died in the war, Yonhap reported.

Japanese authorities, however, have not confirmed that claim, Japan's Kyodo News said.

Other South Korean officials quoted the man as saying he had attacked the embassy to protest Japan's refusal to apologize for its war crimes, and that his grandmother had been a sex slave.

The highly emotional issue of the sex slaves or "comfort women" from Korea and other Asian countries, believed to have been forced to serve as sexual slaves for front-line Japanese soldiers during the war, remains unresolved between South Korea and Japan, Yonhap noted.

Kyodo News said the man also had reportedly said he was angered by some of the remarks he alleged had been made by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

The Japanese news service said South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan had conveyed regrets about the incident to the Japanese ambassador, who asked for an investigation.

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