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No plans for first lady to visit Japan exhibit: source

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Currently there are no plans to arrange a trip by first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) to Japan this October to attend the opening ceremony of an exhibition of the National Palace Museum's (NPM) collection at the Kyushu National Museum, a source told local media yesterday.

The diplomatic source yesterday told the Central News Agency that there is currently no indication that Chow will embark on a trip to attend the opening ceremony of the NPM's collection at the Japanese museum. The exhibition is expected to be held from Oct. 7 to Nov. 30.

Chow postponed her scheduled trip to Japan last month over a naming row that many thought belittled Taiwan's sovereignty status.

She was originally scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of “Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei” at the Tokyo National Museum. The exhibition is scheduled to run from June 24 to Sept. 15.

But Taiwan threatened to cancel the unprecedented exhibition when some posters advertising the exhibition were found to refer to the NPM as simply “Palace Museum, Taipei” — an apparent violation of an agreement between Taiwan and Japan that the museum's full name must be used in all publicity materials.

The museum later apologized over the errors and corrected all problematic advertising materials prior to the exhibition in Tokyo. The exhibit went on as planned, but Chow decided to postpone her trip.

It was reported that Chow could visit Japan to attend the NPM exhibition at Kyushu National Museum instead.

The source yesterday told the Central News Agency that it is too early to say whether Chow will visit Japan this October.

The source said that the Presidential Office will continue to monitor the situation in Japan in the wake of the naming row before making the decision.

No Jadeite Cabbage, Fewer Visitors

 Meanwhile, fewer people have been visiting the Tokyo museum since the Jadeite Cabbage was returned to Taiwan.

The exhibition in Tokyo will run until Sept. 15, but the Jadeite Cabbage was only on display during the exhibition's first two weeks.

According to a Central News Agency report, only around 2,000 visitors currently visit the Tokyo museum each day, which is in sharp contrast to the number of visitors from June 24 to July 7, when an average of 10,000 visitors visited the museum for the NPM exhibition daily.

A total of 231 precious works from the NPM will be exhibited at the Tokyo and Kyushu shows, including ancient books, calligraphy, paintings, pieces of embroidery, ceramics, bronze and jade.

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