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Tokyo museum to visit Taiwan for 2014 loan exhibit

2012/04/08 18:55:00

Taipei, April 8 (CNA) Officials from the Tokyo National Museum will visit Taiwan next month to discuss the island's first loan of national treasures to Japan in 2014, according to the Taipei-based National Palace Museum.

Details such as the selection of artifacts and the content of the exhibit will be discussed during the visit, museum director Chou Kung-shin told CNA in a recent interview.

Chou said she will be conducting the first official meeting with Zeniya Masami, the executive director of the Tokyo National Museum.

"We have already set up a task force to deal with the project," Chou said, one month after President Ma Ying-jeou announced the groundbreaking news while receiving a group of Japanese lawmakers.

For years, Taiwan's historical treasures were unable to travel to Japan because of the lack of legal protective measures there.

Last May, the Japanese parliament passed immunity from judicial seizure laws to rid Taiwan of the worry that items sent there might be reclaimed by others.

The exhibit, though scheduled for 2014, was widely reported by the Japanese media and has since received encouraging responses.

Japanese makes up a great portion of foreign tourists who visit the museum in Taiwan each year. Despite the March 11 earthquake disaster last year, Japan's tourists continue to grow steadily, from 346,704 in 2009 to 440,740 in 2011.

The Taipei-based museum hosted 3,849,577 overseas visitors last year.

"The Japanese are most interested in our Chinese calligraphy, paintings, ceramics and pottery," the director said, praising their high level of art appreciation.

Asked whether the exhibit will continue to other Japanese cities, as anticipated by many locals, Chou said that the Tokyo National Museum is Taiwan's sole cooperative partner so far and the Taipei museum will follow the Tokyo museum's suggestions.

"Planning an overseas exhibit is long and tedious work," she said, in response to hopes that Japan might also reciprocate by lending its treasures to Taiwan in due time.

"Generally speaking, reciprocal exhibits happen two to three years after the completion of the first exhibit."

Chou, however, noted that the palace museum's new branch in Chiayi County in southern Taiwan, which is slated to open in 2015, will be a good venue for such a display.

The objective of setting up the branch is to bring in artifacts from Asian countries to audiences in southern Taiwan.

The new branch, therefore, could serve as a good platform to introduce Japan's culture to local people, she added.

(By Nancy Liu)