City suing for ownership of ancient tomb in Osaka

Fujidera Kofun Tomb Osaka

Fujidera City in Osaka Prefecture has filed a lawsuit seeking the transfer of ownership of land containing a 1,500 year-old ancient tomb.

Called a ‘kofun’, the ancient tomb is part of the Mozu and Furuichi Kofun-gun group of tombs constructed between the 3rd and 7th century AD in the Osaka area. The city is hoping to have the tombs registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and owning the land would help to ensure its protection and preservation.

According to the city, in 1983 the then-owner of the 3,300 sqm site expressed their intent to donate the property to the city. Since that time, the city’s Board of Education has been maintaining the property. The owner on the property title has since passed away, and 96 heirs have been identified.

Japan’s Civil Code provides for adverse possession of property rights if certain conditions are met. If a person occupies a third person’s property for between 10 ~ 20 years, they may acquire the ownership rights to that property provided they meet additional requirements (tenants in rental properties, for example, are ineligible). Fujidera City believes they can claim ownership under the Civil Code.

The Tokyo Shimbun, September 6, 2016.
The Sankei Shimbun, September 7, 2016.

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