A statue symbolizing comfort women who were forced into sexual service for the Imperial Japanese military, which had been withdrawn from an art show for over two months due to security threats, was put back on display Tuesday.
The steering committee of the Aichi Triennale 2019 reopened the exhibition titled “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’” including the statue at 2:10 p.m. on Tuesday at the Aichi Arts Center in Nagoya. Yet, the statue will only have seven days to meet with visitors as the art festival ends next Friday. Fourteen other art works, which had been not displayed in opposition to the unilateral withdrawal of the statue, were also brought back on the same day.
Still, it could be a hassle to take a glimpse at the statue of a girl. Visitors need to first apply for a ticket to one of the two sessions a day, and take part in a lottery to join 30 people allowed for each session. Those selected should go through an education program in advance and need to be accompanied by tour guides. They are also banned from recording videos or posting the content on social media.
Some accused the exhibition of suppressing freedom of expression by limiting the number of visitors in a tight admission process.
In the meantime, Japanese right-wing politicians have strongly opposed the resumption of the exhibition. Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura called the resumption of the show “a violence,” saying that he would stage a protest in front of the exhibition hall. The deputy head of the steering committee also threatened that Nagoya will not pay 33.8 million yen (around 376.8 million won) as part of the expenses for hosting the festival.
The committee also implemented tighter security measures on all visitors for safety reasons including baggage inspections using metal detectors.