Arsonist hits culture center in Tokyo

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Arsonist hits culture center in Tokyo

An unidentified man attempted to set fire to the Korean Cultural Center in Yotsuya, Tokyo, around 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday, an official from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.

The fire did not spread into the building, and there were no causalities or serious damage.

Japanese police said that the man reportedly poured oil near the employee entrance on the first floor and used a lighter to start the fire, then fled the scene.

An employee from the cultural center who was on his way out discovered the fire and reported it to officials around 11:55 p.m. The arsonist left two small gasoline containers at the scene of crime.

Police are currently working on tracking down the suspect. It is possible the suspect may have specifically targeted the Korean government-affiliated center due to tense diplomatic relations between Seoul and Tokyo over historical and territorial issues.

The foreign affairs official said on Thursday that the Korean Embassy in Tokyo is cooperating with the Japanese police to track down and confirm the arsonist’s motives as well as to enhance security at the center.

Japanese police are analyzing CCTV footage to track down the suspect, he added.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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