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Tokyo museum relents in 'national' row

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- After 16 hours of negotiations between delegates from Taiwan and Japan, the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) decided to take down promotional posters that fail to recognize the “national” status of Taiwan's National Palace Museum (NPM).

The TNM is due to hold an exhibition that features the NPM's collections next week. The Presidential Office previously issued an ultimatum requesting name correction on posters be made by 11 p.m. Saturday (Taipei time), or else it would cancel the exhibition altogether.

According to the TNM, some of the posters were lined along Japan's railway system, and cannot be removed until the train service stops late in the evening. As such, there would be difficulty meeting the deadline proposed by Taiwan.

However, the NPM has maintained a tough stance. NPM spokesman Jin Shi (金士) said the false name adopted by Japan breached the Republic of China's (R.O.C.) sovereignty as well as the NPM's reputation. By press time, the NPM has not granted TNM's request for a deadline extension. Jin said that the two sides had been undergoing intense negotiations on the issue, but “everything should follow rules stipulated in the contract” originally inked between the two countries.

TNM Bears the Ultimate Responsibility

The TNM claimed it used the NPM's official title, but contracted media and other parties to produce some of the promotional posters, which inaccurately dubbed the National Palace Museum the "Taipei Palace Museum."

According to Chen Tyau-her (陳調和), deputy chief of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, staff members will be dispatched to major train stations to verify if corrections have been made by midnight.

While the TNM contracted others to produce promotional materials, it is still TNM's responsibility to make sure the NPM's titles are correctly spelled out, Chen said.

First Lady's Trip to Japan to be Postpones

The Presidential Office was displeased about the change. First lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) has postponed her upcoming trip to Japan as a gesture of discontent.

Taiwan's top envoy to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳), had been undergoing marathon negotiations with TNM's representatives until 3 a.m. yesterday. Shen was originally due to provide an update at a press conference scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (Japan time). However, he was bogged down at the negotiation table with Japan's delegates and failed to show up.

Deputy chief Chen presided over the conference instead. Asked by the press if First lady Chow's visit to Japan is canceled, Chen said that the embassy was still preparing for her visit.

President Ma Ying-jeou said earlier that in the past 20 years, artifacts from the NPM have gone on display in various countries, including the U.S., France, Germany and Austria, where the full name of the NPM was always used. As such, Japan's failure to adopt the NPM's full name in promotional materials is not acceptable, Ma said.

June 22, 2014    Upwell@
I just cannot stop wondering if this incident is a reflection of Japan's entrenched arrogant attitude towards their Asian neighbors. History has shown that Japan remains a nation that denies their wrong doing and given any opportunity, it rears its head to belittle others. They know full well that this matter of Taiwan's sovereignty is extremely sensitive and goes to the hearts of its people. So why should Japan took 16 hours of negotiation before recognizing that it has to rectify its wrongs. Anyone with good faith would have apologized and do all it can to correct itself once the default is brought to its attention. Watch out for the Japanese and their bullying! Lest you give them an inch and they take a foot from you.
June 22, 2014    Sactoman29@
This is just a mistake that has nothing to so with politics from Japan's view. It is easy to see how a museum name could be mistranslated and it was not mislabeled on many promotional items. New posters have to be printed and the old ones replaced. There are hundreds of train stations that need to be fixed. Japanese people are excited to see the special exhibit and not trying to offend anyone but rather the Taiwan and the NPM are making themselves look rather childish by taking offense over and demanding the Japanese government into an unreasonable time frame. Taiwan needs to step back and think about this for a minute and act like a mature and reasonable people and most of all just let the Japanese appreciate the beautiful artwork.
June 24, 2014    bescheiden@
Upwell@ wrote:
I just cannot stop wondering if this incident is a reflection of Japan's entrenched arrogant attitude towards their Asian neighbors. History has shown that Japan remains a nation that denies their wrong doing and given any opportunity, it rears its head to belittle others. They know full well that this matter of Taiwan's sovereignty is extremely sensitive and goes to the hearts of its people. So why should Japan took 16 hours of negotiation before recognizing that it has to rectify its wrongs. Anyone with good faith would have apologized and do all it can to correct itself once the default is brought to its attention. Watch out for the Japanese and their bullying! Lest you give them an inch and they take a foot from you.
Japanese bullying? I think the US is famous for its bullying and blaming others for its no so romantic history such as slavery and the Native American genocide. What about the illegal bombing of Laos and Cambodia?
Typical American arrogance!
June 24, 2014    bescheiden@
We Taiwanese are way too sensitive. Perhaps we should be as sensitive when it comes to foreign laborers who get cheated, raped, abused, etc.
June 25, 2014    rogechien@
李登輝永遠效忠日本爸爸,台獨份子永遠效忠李登輝...這些人何不回日本!
June 25, 2014    blamegame@
Hey, you, bescheiden. Who, exactly, do Americans blame for slavery?
June 26, 2014    legerweck@
Tell President Ma to take his ultimatum where it obviously belongs. It's China not Japan that threatens Taiwan with thousands of missiles. An ultimatum to Japan, saying they don’t respect Taiwan sovereignty because a Museum printing subcontractor made a mistake or didn't follow directions. This is laughable and sad at the same time.
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