FBI Recovers 22 Artifacts That Were Stolen from Japan During WWII

A stolen Japanese scroll found in a Massachusetts home was among 22 artifacts recovered by the FBI. Photo: FBI

By Steve Neavling

The FBI returned 22 artifacts that were looted from Japan following the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. 

A Massachusetts family sorting through their late father’s belongings discovered the stolen items, which included six portraits, a hand-drawn map of Okinawa, and various pieces of pottery and ceramics. Some of the artifacts dated back to the 18th and 19th century, the FBI announced. 

Missing for nearly 80 years, the artifacts were turned over to the FBI’s Boston Field Office, which helped return the items to Japan. 

The family that found the artifacts discovered that at least four of the items had been listed in an FBI database of stolen art. 

Their father was a World War II veteran. 

“It’s incredibly gratifying when the FBI is able to recover precious cultural property that has been missing for almost 80 years,” Jodi Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office, said in a statement. “This case highlights the important role the public plays in recognizing and reporting possible stolen art. We’d like to thank the family from Massachusetts who did the right thing in reaching out to us and relinquishing these treasures so we could return them to the people of Okinawa.”

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