The South Korean government has asked a high court to conduct a scientific appraisal of a piece of evidence that is the basis for a district court ruling on the ownership of a Buddhist statue stolen from Japan.The centuries-old statue was stolen by a South Korean man 5 years ago from a temple in Tsushima, and later recovered in South Korea. The Japanese government has asked South Korea for its return.But Buseok Temple in South Korea claimed it was the original owner and filed a lawsuit. The temple said Japanese pirates stole the statue in medieval times. In January, a district court ruled in favor of the temple.At the Daejeon High Court on Tuesday, the South Korean government referred to a paper found inside the statue stating that it was made at Buseok Temple in 1330.The government said it is necessary to confirm whether the temple mentioned in the paper is the same as the one claiming ownership. The government also requested a scientific appraisal to determine when the paper was written.The temple responded that there is no need for an appraisal, since the paper's characteristics indicate that it dates from that period.The judge proposed that the two sides explain their claims to the public at a local university as part of the court proceedings.