Symposium held on “Wandering Cultural Heritage: 10 Years of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property”
The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage hosts a symposium each year for the general public. This year, the symposium was held at Heiseikan of the Tokyo National Museum on December 1, 2012. The symposium was entitled “Wandering Cultural Heritage: 10 Years of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property” (sponsor: Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan).
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Japan’s ratification of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The symposium introduced Japanese efforts to safeguard cultural properties from illegal exportation and importation pursuant to the Convention and the current state of those efforts, and also described efforts overseas.
A report on Japan’s national efforts was given by SHIOKAWA Tatsuhiro, Director of the Office for International Cooperation on Cultural Properties, Agency for Cultural Affairs while a report on local efforts was given by Superintendent TSUJIMOTO Tadamasa, an officer of the Nara Prefectural Police Department who deals with crimes against cultural properties. Speaking on the current state of trafficking in cultural properties, KURITA Isao, an art dealer and owner of the Gandhara Antiques specialty shop, described the root of the problem of trafficking in cultural properties in countries where those properties are trafficked from. Foreign examples were described by a member of Italy’s Carabinieri (national military police), Massimiliano Quagliarella, Head of Operations, Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection. Quagliarella described safeguarding of cultural heritage by the Carabinieri as well as actual cases of art forgery and detection of illegal exports. Active discussions developed after all of the presentations, with panelists joined by IGARASHI Kazushige Deputy Director of the Enforcement Division, Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance.
Although the problem of safeguarding cultural heritage is seldom brought up, this problem is actually a familiar one. Examining this problem, the symposium was well-received by members of the general public who were in attendance. The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage will continue to make opportunities to further understanding for the general public about problems related to cultural heritage.