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Exhibition of Chinese artifacts loaned from Taiwan open in Tokyo

June 23, 2014

An exhibition of ancient Chinese artifacts on loan from Taiwan opened in Tokyo on Monday after the two sides patched up a last-minute dispute over the name of the Taiwan government-operated museum that owned the exhibits.

The Taiwan government, angry over the wording used by Japanese organizers in identifying the government-run national museum in Taipei, had threatened to call off the exhibits.

"We have made the people of Taiwan feel unpleasant, and I apologize in my capacity as curator," Masami Zeniya, curator of Tokyo National Museum, said at an opening ceremony held at the museum Monday afternoon.

The exhibits will be open to public from Tuesday.

The dispute centered around the name of Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum, which has lent more than 200 pieces of rare Chinese cultural relics for special exhibition in Japan.

An agreement signed by the two sides on the exhibition requires that Japanese organizers call the Taiwan museum by its official name.

The Taiwan 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 the word "National."

Taiwan gave the official go-ahead early Monday for the exhibition to open after Japanese organizers made changes on the Taiwan museum's name in posters and other promotional materials.

In an address at the opening ceremony, Feng Ming-chu, director of Taiwan'sNational Palace Museum, said he accepted the Japanese apology.

"It was an unfortunate incident. The terms of the contract have now been fulfilled and I'm thankful that due respect has been given to our official name," Feng said.

Feng and his delegation flew to Japan on Monday morning after the two sides patched up the differences.

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

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.

The exhibition will run for 12 weeks at the Tokyo National Museum and will then move to the Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, for an eight-week period.

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.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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