Taiwan's first lady Chow Mei-ching will visit Japan next week to attend the opening of exhibits of ancient Chinese artifacts from Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum, the museum said Wednesday.
Feng Ming-chu, director of Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum, told a press conference in Taipei that Chow will attend the opening ceremony next Monday, without specifying the date of Chow's departure from Taiwan.
The Foreign Ministry said Chow will have to leave Sunday to be in time for the ceremony.
The exhibit will be open to public from next Tuesday.
More than 200 of the museum's rare cultural relics have been selected for the exhibitions that will be held at the Tokyo National Museum for 12 weeks from June to September and for eight weeks at the Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, from October to November.
Among them are a century-old jadeite carved into the shape of a cabbage and a meat-shaped stone, two of the National Palace Museum's "Three Treasures."
The jadeite cabbage will be exhibited only at the Tokyo National Museum and the meat-shaped stone only at the Kyushu National Museum, each for two weeks.
The museum will also send four 12th-century Ju kiln porcelain objects.
Ju ware is famous for a green-tinged blue that has a faint sparkle, a technique that has long been lost.
Fewer than 70 porcelain artifacts made by the Ju kiln remain in the world today and the museum has 21.
Other items on loan are scrolls, porcelain artifacts, bronze antiques, jade ware, enamel objects and lacquer ware, ancient books and other Chinese antiquities from different periods.
Feng told Kyodo News in an interview the exhibitions will "touch people's heart" and "offer the Japanese an opportunity to better understand Chinese culture."
The upcoming exhibitions will be the first in Asia outside Taiwan.
Over the past 20 years, the artifacts of the National Palace Museum have only been exhibited in four other countries -- the United States, France, Germany and Austria -- all of which enacted laws before the exhibit to guarantee the artifacts' safe return to Taiwan.
In March 2011, Japan also enacted a law that addressed Taiwan's concern that China could seek to have the artifacts and artwork impounded.
The National Palace Museum in Taipei houses a large collection of the finest Chinese antiquities collected by various Chinese emperors over a millennium.
The Nationalist Party took more than 650,000 art objects to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war to the Communists in 1949.
Since then, Taiwan and China have been governed separately. China views Taiwan as part of its territory and claimed the treasures housed in the National Palace Museum as its own.
Thanks to the rapid thawing of cross-strait tension since 2008, Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum has showcased Chinese relics on loan from Chinese museums.
However, the loans have so far been one-way, with Taiwan still balking at loaning its treasures to China, citing lack of international standards for the care and safe return of the loaned objects.