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Foreign ministry planning visit to Japan exhibition for first lady

TAIPEI -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning a visit to Japan by first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青), Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday without elaborating, saying only that details of her trip will be announced “at an appropriate time.”

During a hearing of the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Lin confirmed that the ministry is planning activities for a trip by Chow, in response to questions by a lawmaker on the first lady's attendance of a June exhibition in Japan of treasured Chinese artifacts belonging to Taiwan.

The trip could be seen as a sign of improving relations between Taiwan and Japan, said lawmaker Lu Shiow-yen of the ruling Kuomintang.

Earlier this month, a local media report said that Chow will attend the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which will showcase some of Taiwan's National Palace Museum (NPM, 故宮博物院) collection, at the Tokyo National Museum in June, the first time she had been linked to the exhibition.

The NPM, one of the world's largest depositories of imperial Chinese art and artifacts, has signed an agreement with two Japanese museums to lend exhibits on a reciprocal basis.

It will display 231 artifacts at the Tokyo museum from June 24 to Sept. 15 and at the Kyushu National Museum from Oct. 7 to Nov. 30, while the NPM's southern branch in Chiayi County is set to host 150 artifacts from the two Japanese museums in 2016.

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