South Korea court docket rejects temple’s declare to statue it says pirates pillaged

Written by ReutersSeoul, South Korea

A South Korean court docket on Wednesday rejected a Buddhist temple’s declare to a statue that it mentioned Japanese pirates looted within the 14th century, clearing the way in which for Japan to press for its return.

The 20-inch gilt bronze statue of a Buddhist Bodhisattva was stolen from a Japanese temple in 2012 by South Korean thieves, who have been caught attempting to promote it after returning house.

The Buseoksa temple in South Korea filed a authorized case in 2016 claiming possession of the statue, which has been within the custody of the federal government, saying Japanese pirates had plundered it within the 14th century.

However a South Korean excessive court docket on Wednesday overturned a 2017 determination in favor of the temple and rejected its declare to the statue, saying the federal government, the defendant within the case, now needed to return it within the correct approach.

“The defendant needs to deal with the issue of returning the statue in consideration of international law, norms and conventions concerning the protection and return of cultural properties,” the court docket mentioned in an announcement.

It mentioned that even when the Buseoksa temple had owned the statue within the early 1300s, there was a scarcity of proof to find out that the temple had maintained its “identity and continuity” through the years.

The 20-inch gilt bronze statue was stolen from a Japanese temple in 2012. Credit score: Tsushima Metropolis Board of Training

An official on the temple advised reporters it will attraction to the Supreme Courtroom and attempt to discover extra proof to help its declare.

The case has been carefully watched in each international locations, conventional rivals whose relations have for many years been frayed by historic feuds.

South Korea’s overseas ministry referred media queries to the Cultural Heritage Administration. An official on the company mentioned it didn’t touch upon court docket choices.

Japan would take follow-up motion in session with South Korea and the Japanese temple, Chief Cupboard Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno mentioned in Tokyo.

“The Japanese government will encourage the Korean government to return the statue,” he advised a briefing.

The Japanese temple, Kannonji, was not a direct social gathering to the swimsuit however had argued on the trial that the artifact was not acquired illegally via pirates however via professional commerce.