A panel of experts agreed Tuesday to finalize by late May a report on emergency measures to remove black mold threatening the colorful frescoes of the Takamatsuzuka Tumulus in the village of Asuka, Nara Prefecture.

The Culture Agency said last week that black mold was found in October during the last inspection of the tomb, a designated national treasure that dates to around 700.

The mold was found in a total of three spots on the east and west walls of the fully enclosed stone chamber.

The panel of experts on ancient tombs and paintings gathered to discuss how the mold can be removed and what further steps are needed to preserve the frescoes.

They agreed to wrap up a package of recommendations by late May, and the agency is expected to begin emergency restoration work in early July.

During the meeting, the experts discussed what might be the reason behind the mold.

Some panel members questioned whether humidity in the tomb should be kept at 100 percent, and whether there has been a change in the environment surrounding the tomb mound.

Panel members will conduct an on-site study later this month before determining how to manage the temperature and humidity levels in the future, agency officials said.

The mold has not yet reached painted parts of the walls, but at some points it is almost touching the colorful frescoes.

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