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Japan to return ancient books Tuesday

Dec. 5, 2011 - 17:14 By Korea Herald

Some 1,200 Joseon Dynasty-era books looted by Japan during the colonial era will be returned to Korea on Tuesday afternoon, a government official said.

According to the official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the books will be divided and delivered on two flights, each carrying 600 books. The books will arrive at the Incheon International Airport at 3:35 p.m. and 4:35 p.m., respectively, said the official.

Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Park Suk-hwan and Japan’s ambassador to Seoul, Masatoshi Muto, will hold a simple ceremony at the airport to mark the books’ return, he said.

The ancient books include “Uigwe,” or royal protocols of the Joseon Dynasty(1392-1910).

The books are among the 1,205 that President Lee Myung-bak and Japan’s then Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed on Nov. 10, 2010 to have returned to Korea. Under the agreement, the books were supposed to be returned by Dec. 10, 2012.

On Oct. 19, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda held a summit with President Lee and returned five books. The five included a royal book called “Daerye Uigwe,” which recorded the coronation ceremony of Gojong, the Emperor Gwangmu (1852-1919) of the Korean Empire (1897-1910), and two royal books of “Wangsejagaryedogam,” a record of the 1881 wedding of Sunjong, the last emperor of the Daehan Empire.

By Kim Yoon-mi