Seoul: A man has been arrested for allegedly planning to torch the Japanese embassy in the South Korean capital and to take staff hostage in protest at historical disputes, police said on Thursday.
The man identified only as Jang allegedly tried to break into the embassy last evening but was caught by police stationed nearby, a National Police Agency spokesman said.
He was apprehended with a knife, a cigarette lighter and a copy of a handwritten press statement. Police said Jang, 38, planned to hold a press conference criticising Japan`s claim to disputed islets in the Sea of Japan and its history textbooks that allegedly gloss over 20th century atrocities.
They said investigators are checking whether he has any history of psychiatric illness.
The embassy is often the focus of protests, amid lingering resentment at Japan`s brutal colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945.
The two countries dispute the ownership of the islands known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan.