The 36-year-old Lui, was apprehended at the scene after throwing the firebombs over the wall of the embassy at 8:18 a.m., according to Jongno Police Station.
Two of the four Molotov cocktails went over the embassy wall but did not catch fire. The attack caused no injury or property damage, police said.
The statue of a girl wearing traditional Korean clothes and sitting on a stool was installed across the street from the embassy on Dec. 14, the day the 1,000th rally demanding a formal apology from the Japanese government for the victims of sexual slavery was held.
Police are questioning the man, who entered the country on a tourist visa in December.
Kyoto News reported that the Japanese Embassy regretted the incident and called for the government to launch a thorough investigation and take necessary steps to prevent a recurrence.
Police identified Lui as the man who claimed he set fire to the door of the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan last month.
The door of the shrine was set on fire at around 4:10 a.m. Dec. 26 and a man called a Korean newspaper the following day claiming he had done it.
The man said he set the shrine on fire in an act of protest against the Japanese government for its failure to apologize for the use of sexual slavery during World War II.
If Lui, a resident from Guangzhou, China, is confirmed to have set the shrine on fire, this would be the second time he set a Japanese building on fire to protest Tokyo’s refusal to apologize for its “painful” history.
The attack on the embassy comes at a sensitive time when diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan have become strained in the wake of the placing of the “Peace Monument.”
During a summit on Dec. 18, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda requested South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to remove the statue. President Lee, however, warned that “second and third statues will be set up unless the comfort women issue is resolved.”