News Column

Taiwan gives green light to museum exhibitions in Japan

June 22, 2014

Ko Shu-ling

The exhibition of ancient Chinese artifacts from Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum scheduled to open in Tokyo on Tuesday will go ahead as planned after Japan corrected posters and other promotional materials omitting the word "national" in referring to the museum.

Museum Spokesman Chin Shih-hsien told Kyodo News on the telephone museum Director Feng Ming-chu and the delegation left for Japan on Monday morning to attend the opening ceremony scheduled for Monday afternoon.

"The Tokyo National Museum owes the (Taiwanese) people an apology," the museum said in a statement.

Taiwan's First Lady Chow Mei-ching, who was also scheduled to attend the opening ceremony, has postponed her visit to Japan.

The exhibit will be open to public from Tuesday.

Controversy surfaced Friday after the Taiwan Presidential Office issued a statement of protest warning the exhibition would be canceled unless the Japanese organizers took steps to call the Taiwan museum by its official name.

More than 200 of the museum's rare cultural relics have been selected for exhibitions that would 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.

Conditions for the loans are that Japan calls the museum by its official title on all occasions. It also had to send an official invitation to request the loans and pass a law addressing Taiwan's concerns about the return of the loaned objects.

The museum said the main organizer, the Tokyo National Museum, failed to use the museum's official name on its official website, and its co-organizers failed to do so on the tickets, coupons and posters they printed by leaving out "national."

The National Palace Museum in Taipei houses a large collection of the finest Chinese antiquities collected by various Chinese emperors over a millennium.

President Ma Ying-jeou's Nationalist Party took more than 650,000 art objects to Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China, after losing the Chinese civil war to the Communists in 1949.

Since then, Taiwan and China have been governed separately, but China views Taiwan as part of its territory and claims the treasures housed in the National Palace Museum.

Because of the rapid thawing of cross-strait tension since 2008, Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum has showcased Chinese relics on loan from Chinese museums, but the loans have so far been one-way, with Taiwan balking at loaning treasures to China, citing a lack of international standards for the care and safe return of the loaned objects.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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