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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 25 - October 1  > Gov't discourages artistic expression by withdrawing subsidies
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2019 September 25 - October 1 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov't discourages artistic expression by withdrawing subsidies

September 26 & 27, 2019
Education Minister Hagiuda Koichi on September 26 announced that a 78-million-yen state subsidy that was in the pipeline will not be available for the international art festival Aichi Triennale.

Concerns are increasing about possible censorship in the future through withholding state subsidies if the once-adopted grant can be retracted only because some works of art sparked controversy.

Following the minister's announcement, Aichi Governor Omura Hideaki held a press conference in the prefectural government office building. He pointed out that the subsidy was adopted in April and that the Cultural Affairs Agency, an external organ of the Education Ministry, was planning to provide the grant. Claiming that the unilateral revocation is unacceptable and is a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees the freedom of expression, the governor expressed his intent to take legal action against the central government.

Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers Motomura Nobuko, Inoue Satoshi, and Kira Yoshiko promptly lodged a protest with the Cultural Affairs Agency and demanded that the subsidy to the Aichi art festival be paid.

Motomura said, "Not providing the subsidy because of the inclusion of controversial art objects will discourage organizers from displaying edgy works and also will deprive observers of their right to view art." Pointing out that freedom of expression in Japan is at a crossroads, the JCP lawmakers said that the Cultural Affairs Agency should take the side of artists at a time like this.

The day before the central government announcement to withdraw the subsidy for the Aichi art festival, Aichi Governor Omura who heads the Aichi Triennale organizing committee told the press that he will resume the feature exhibit "After 'Freedom of Expression?'" which had been removed due to intimidation and criminal threats. He said this in response to an interim report suggesting that the exhibit be reopened as soon as conditions permit. Looking into the cancellation of the "After Freedom of Expression" exhibit, the prefecture's committee headed by Yamanashi Toshio, director of the National Museum of Art, compiled the report.

Past related articles:
> Majority of Aichi Triennale artists call for reopening of ‘shuttered’ exhibition [August 7, 2019]
> Political pressure on exhibit of ‘statue of Korean girl’ in Aichi Triennale violates Constitution banning censorship: Koike [August 4&5, 2019]
> Citizens in birthplace of ‘Freedom of Expression’ exhibit call for reinstatement of closed artworks [August 15, 2019]
> JCP members of Nagoya City Assembly protest against mayor’s pressure for closure of exhibition [August 6, 2019]

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