Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A Japanese man was arrested after engaging in "hate speech" activities targeting Chinese nationals in Kyoto, according to a Japanese press report.
NHK reported Friday the defendant, a 58-year-old man, was taken into custody after posting anti-Chinese flyers on a telephone pole in a residential neighborhood.
The flyers read, "Don't let in infected Chinese," according to the report.
The man also was engaged in a dispute that may have involved a physical altercation with a Chinese national at the site. A resident called the police to report the disturbance.
Following the arrest the defendant told police the new strain of coronavirus is "spreading in China," and that he could "no longer suppress the desire" to tell "infected Chinese to not come to Japan."
Japan is a popular destination with Chinese tourists, but anti-Chinese sentiment may be growing in the country following the rise in infections in China and Japan. In January, a Japanese store owner came under criticism after posting a "No entry for Chinese" sign in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture.
"Don't come to Hakone to spread viruses," the sign read. "Don't come to Japan."
Japan has the second-highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising concerns Tokyo may be forced to postpone or cancel the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said Friday there are no changes to the plan to host the Summer Games, and slammed a British politician for suggesting London could host the Olympics, calling the remarks "inappropriate."
Shaun Bailey, a conservative mayoral candidate, had said it would be "perfectly possible" London could host athletes in the summer due to the outbreak, which has infected more than 720 people in Japan, following a controversial quarantine of a cruise ship in Yokohama.
"Given the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, I urge the Olympic Committee to seriously consider how London could stand ready to host the Olympics should the need arise," Bailey had said.