Last weekend, orders from government officials and alleged threats had prompted one of Japan's biggest art festivals, the Aichi Triennale, to remove the so-called "comfort women" statue, made by a Korean artist.
Japan's Association of Art Critics said its removal violates freedom of expression, which is one of the fundamentals of democracy.
The group added that artistic expression should not be restrained by force and called for the exhibition to be reopened.
The Consumers Union of Japan also released a statement saying the removal of the statue is "very regrettable and upsetting" and violates people's right to know.
Local residents submitted a request to the governor of Aichi Prefecture, who is the head of the art festival's organizing committee, asking that the statue be brought back.
"About the 'comfort women' statue, I am very sad. The display of that statue gave me a lot of expectations and hope for Japan. So I am saddened by what's happened."
Meanwhile there's a movement spreading among Japanese citizens online where people are posting pictures of miniature "comfort women" statues in different places.
The campaign was actually started earlier this year by a local civic group.
The group says the campaign is meant to show that Japanese people are not like their government, which denies its warcrimes including sexual slavery.
When the comfort women statue exhibition was taken down last weekend, the organizers explained that the decision was based on safety issues because they were receiving "terror threats" by telephone and e-mail.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News.