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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 April 4 - 10  > Return foreign cultural property plundered by Japan during Japan’s occupation: JCP Ishii
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2007 April 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

Return foreign cultural property plundered by Japan during Japan’s occupation: JCP Ishii

April 7, 2007
At a House of Representatives Committee on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology meeting on April 6, Japanese Communist Party representative Ishii Ikuko called on the government to conduct a survey on cultural assets that Japan had plundered from other countries it had occupied.

An Agency for Cultural Affairs senior official admitted that the agency has never conducted such a survey but showed reluctance on the grounds that it would require a massive survey.

Ishii cited a Korea Foundation survey carried out between 1993 and 1996 showing that 29,000 Korean cultural properties are in the possession of major public and private Japanese galleries, museums, and universities.

Ishii argued that national institutions should consider returning such items to the countries concerned.

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Ibuki Bunmei in reply said, “This issue was settled in the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. The treaty must be respected.”

Eight items currently possessed by Japanese national museums, including an openwork designed-coronet made of gold and copper (Kondo Sukashibori Houkan), which is designated as a nationally important cultural asset, were forcibly collected by Japanese civilians in Japanese-occupied Korea.

Korea’s manuals for royal events (Chosen Oushitsu Gigi) that describe ritual ceremonies of the Korean Dynasties is in the possession of the Imperial Household Agency’s library.
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