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Japan to Return 1,000 Cultural Relics to Korea

Posted November. 09, 2010 10:09,   


Japan will return royal texts from Korea`s Joseon Dynasty stolen under Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

A Korean government source said Monday, “The two countries reached a final agreement on the principle, size and procedures of cultural relics to be returned.”

Another source said, “As promised by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in August, the cultural assets Japan will return are books. The Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry will announce this Tuesday.”

Sources say the books to be returned include Joseon royal protocols; books that belonged to the royal family and were in the care of Gyujanggak, an institute created by King Jeongjo; and books used at Gyeongyeon, an event in which Joseon kings held regular discussions on Confucianism with their subordinates.

A diplomatic source said, "I heard that more than 1,000 books will be returned by Japan, which is more than we expected."

In a statement made two weeks before the centennial anniversary of Japan’s annexation of Korea in August, Kan said, "We will deliver valuable Korean royal books, including the Joseon Dynasty royal protocols, that were moved from the Japanese governor general of Korea to the Japanese government under Japanese occupation."

President Lee Myung-bak and Kan will hold talks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Yokohama, Japan, Saturday and Sunday on the return of the cultural assets.

Their meeting will be followed by related events, announcement of an agreement, signing of a treaty, and ratification by the parliaments of both countries.

The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun said Monday that the Korean government strongly required the use of the term "return," but Japan insisted on "delivery" and refused to use the word return.

Under the Korea-Japan treaty signed in 1965, Japan returned 1,432 cultural items, including 852 collections kept by the Imperial Household Agency. The Korean government had requested the return of 4,479 items.