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NPM hopes exhibits in Japan will highlight the nation's 'soft power'

TAIPEI -- The director of Taiwan's National Palace Museum (NPM, 故宮博物院) said she hopes upcoming historical exhibits of NPM cultural treasures in Japan will showcase Taiwan's 'soft power.”

Fung Ming-chu's (馮明珠) remark came as over 200 sets of precious works from the NPM are set to be exhibited at the Tokyo National Museum from June and later this year at the Kyushu National Museum.

It marks the first time NPM treasures will be displayed in an Asian country other than Taiwan.

“For the National Palace Museum, (it is an opportunity) to show our nation's soft power through our collection,” Fung said in an interview with CNA and Japan's Kyodo News.

“We eagerly hope that it will increase cultural exchanges between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Japan” and boost bilateral tourism, said Fung.

She described the exhibitions as the result of years of “very lengthy discussions” and negotiations between the two sides.

The NPM agreed to lend its artifacts to Japan after the latter passed a law in 2011 that renders foreign-loaned cultural objects immune from seizure, allowing Taiwan's treasures to be exhibited in Japan without fear of losing them to China, which considers the artifacts to be Chinese property.

Fung revealed that initially, her museum had “flatly rejected” Japan's request to lend its most popular artifact, the Jadeite Cabbage with Insects, and another famous piece, the Meat-shaped Stone, but museum officials were finally “moved” by Japan's sincerity.

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