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First lady's trip to Japan still on hold: Presidential Office

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Presidential Office denied a report on Friday that first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) will visit Kyushu when a National Palace Museum (NPM) exhibition goes on display there in October, saying her trip to Japan remains on hold.

Asked about the report, Presidential Office spokesman Ma Wei-kuo said there were no such plans for such a trip at present.

Chow, the wife of President Ma Ying-jeou, was scheduled to visit Tokyo on June 22 to attend the opening ceremony of the unprecedented exhibition of ancient Chinese treasures from the NPM on June 23.

But her trip was postponed after a diplomatic row erupted over Japanese posters promoting the show omitted the word “National” from the museum's name, which Taiwan perceived as a slight to its sovereignty.

Authorities at the Tokyo National Museum resolved the problem in time for the exhibition to open as scheduled on June 24, but the solution came too late for Chow to appear at the show's Tokyo opening.

The door was left open for the first lady to visit Japan, however, and the Apple Daily reported Friday that she could travel to Kyushu in October when the NPM exhibition opens at the Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

The paper said the purpose of her trip would be to cement relations between Taiwan and Japan.

The NPM announced the loan of 231 artifacts to Japan in 2013. It is the first time an NPM collection is on display in any Asian country, following exhibitions in the United States, France, Germany and Austria.

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