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Chow may accompany exhibits to Fukushima

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- First lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) may be visiting Japan with several collections, including the Jadeite Cabbage, from the National Palace Museum this coming June.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced a Taiwan-Japan arrangement to have National Palace Museum collections displayed in Japan, but stated that Chow's potential hosting of the exhibition's opening tea party was not yet settled and the details are to be planned by the museum.

The National Palace Museum stated early yesterday that it has not received any news of Chow accompanying the exhibition to Japan.

Rumors of Chow visiting nuclear-affected Fukushima were not acknowledged by MOFA; officials in Japan stated that the first lady's visit was not yet decided but that it would greatly benefit the relationship between Taiwan and Japan.

Although former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) also visited Japan in 2005, Chow's visit would mean a great deal more, said a Taiwanese official in Japan.

The National Palace Museum is one of Taiwan's national treasures and is an official government unit; should Chow lead the visiting party, her participation would make the trip one of the most important in Taiwan's history with Japan, said the unnamed official.

President Ma Ying-jeou previously stated that Taiwan's relationship with the United States had reached its best condition in 30 years and the relationship with Japan is at its best in 40 years; if Chow is able to visit Japan, this would prove Ma's words true, said the official.

Aside from leading the exhibition team, Chow may meet with Taiwanese residing in Japan. The Interchange Association Japan noted in an interview with the Central News Agency that it had not received news of Chow's speculated visit, thus it was unable to comment on the details. It did, however, state that it would respect Taiwan's choice for the visiting group's leader.

The collection will be exhibited in the Tokyo National Museum from June 24 to Sept. 15, and later in the Kyushu National Museum from Oct. 7 to Nov, 30, 2014.

The Jadeite Cabbage, a piece of jadeite carved into the shape of a Chinese cabbage head with a locust and a katydid camouflaged into its side, is well-known for the anonymous sculptor's delicate skills and its lovely shades of greens, which are almost translucent.

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