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September 26, 2017

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Ties not affected by exhibition naming row: envoy

TAIPEI -- The unofficial ties between Taiwan and Japan have not been affected by the row over publicity materials that omitted the word "national" from the name of the National Palace Museum (NPM) in Taipei, Tokyo's deputy representative in Taiwan said Wednesday.

Izuru Hanaki, deputy representative of the Taipei Office of Japan's Interchange Association, said he believes the incident, which erupted just days before a first-of-its kind exhibit of NPM treasures in Tokyo, has not impacted bilateral ties.

"(The exhibition) is very popular" and many in Japan still want to visit it, Hanaki said on the sidelines of an event for a program that subsidizes short-term research by Japanese and Taiwanese doctoral students on exchange.

Chow Welcomed to Japan

Asked about first lady Chow Mei-ching's (周美青) cancellation of plans to attend the opening ceremony amid the naming row, Hanaki said that Chow is still welcome to visit Japan "if there is an opportunity."

Wednesday's event was attended by Taiwanese students receiving research subsidies to head to Japan.

The Interchange Association and Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology will jointly sponsor the recipients' flight tickets and living costs while they conduct research in the other country. This year's recipients include 23 Taiwanese students, according to the association.

Established in 2003, the program has granted subsidies to a total of 376 Taiwanese students and 405 Japanese students, the association said.

On June 20, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned the Tokyo National Museum, which is organizing the exhibition in Tokyo, that Taiwan will cancel the event unless advertisements and tickets that refer to the NPM as simply the "Palace Museum" are replaced with versions featuring its full name.

On Monday morning, the NPM announced that the exhibition in Tokyo will open Tuesday as scheduled after the Tokyo museum met demands to remove or replace all posters and advertising materials that were missing the word "national."

Controversy erupted because the removal of the word "national" constitutes an apparent violation of the agreement that the museum's full name must be used in all publicity materials.

Amid the naming row, Chow canceled her previous plans to attend the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

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