Taiwan demands removal of posters for Japan museum exhibit (update)

06/20/2014 11:48 PM
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Taipei, June 20 (CNA) The National Palace Museum (NPM) on Friday demanded that all promotional posters for an exhibition of the museum's collection in Japan be removed by midnight Saturday if they do not contain the full name of the museum.

Taiwan has threatened to cancel the unprecedented exhibition after the Japanese media, which are the co-sponsors of the show, omitted the word "national" from the full name of the National Palace Museum in their promotional posters because Japan doesn't recognize Taiwan as a country.

"The NPM demands that all posters and publicity materials on the exhibition that are not marked 'National' be removed by midnight Saturday. There is no room for negotiation," NPM director Feng Ming-chu said.

The NPM had earlier asked Japan to remove the posters in question by June 28 at the latest.

A press conference to promote the exhibition of NPM's collection in Tokyo earlier in the day was called off after Taiwan complained that some of the show's posters undermined Taiwan's dignity by omitting the word "National."

The Tokyo National Museum, where the show is to take place, said that it has followed the agreement to use the full name, but it has no control over the media sponsors, because freedom of the press is involved.

Yuji Kurihara, director of administration of the Tokyo museum, said the museum is dealing with the matter over the past two days, adding that "we really want to hold the exhibition."

However, the NPM stressed that if the Tokyo National Museum could not clearly pledge to rectify the problem, the NPM would not attend any of the publicity events and the opening ceremony on June 23.

First lady Chow Mei-ching would also not lead a delegation to visit Japan and the exhibition will be canceled, the NPM said.

Under the agreement signed between the two sides, Taiwan will not shoulder any costs because the show could not be opened as scheduled or because the show ends earlier than planned.

No NPM overseas shows has ever been abruptly canceled, but NPM spokesman Chin Shih-hsien said that "if we are capable of bringing the collection to Japan, we are capable of bringing it back too."

Sources said that the museum has toughened up because Japan has not actively addressed the concerns of Taiwan. Also, the NPM would not like to set a precedent, as past shows of NPM collection overseas, whether in Germany, the United States, France, or Austria, had followed the contracts and used the full name of the museum.

The Presidential Office also demanded an immediate correction in a strongly worded news release, threatening that the NPM will cancel all activities related to the show, and the first lady will not attend the opening ceremony, if the problem is not resolved.

President Ma Ying-jeou said that "the National Palace Museum" is the only official name of the museum, and it will be unacceptable to both the government and people if national dignity is compromised because of cultural exchanges.

"National dignity should come before cultural exchanges," President Ma said.

Lawmakers across the party spectrum have expressed support on Facebook for the government's toughing up attitude.

The selected artifacts from the NPM were set to be put on display under the title "Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei" at the Tokyo museum from June 24 to Sept. 15, and at the Kyushu National Museum from Oct. 7 to Nov. 30.

(By Sabine Cheng , Claudia Liu and Lilian Wu)enditem/cs

Update:●June 23: NPM collection exhibition opens in style despite poster glitch

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Related stories:●June 20: Tokyo National Museum says it takes responsibility over name row●June 20: Taiwan threatens to cancel Japan exhibition over naming row (update)

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