Japanese prime minister to return ancient Korean books

October 18th, 2011 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, Oct 18 (IANS) Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will return five volumes of ancient Korean documents to South Korea during his official visit that began Tuesday, Seoul’s presidential office said.

Noda will return the books of “symbolic significance” during the summit talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, slated for Wednesday, a presidential house release stated.

The five books are part of the 1,205-volume collection of Korean archives from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), including texts of royal protocols known as “Uigwe,” looted during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula, Xinhua reported.

The partial retrieval comes after Noda’s predecessor, Naoto Kan, pledged last year to return royal Korean books in a friendly gesture marking the 100th anniversary of the colonisation.

Ties between the two Asian neighbours have been hit by recurring territorial disputes and diplomatic rows over what Seoul sees as Tokyo’s attempts to beautify its colonial past.

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