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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 2 - 8  > Culture agency admits to absence of records regarding cancellation of subsidy payment to Aichi Triennale
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2019 October 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Culture agency admits to absence of records regarding cancellation of subsidy payment to Aichi Triennale

October 2, 2019

It came to light on October 1 that the Cultural Affairs Agency possesses no records concerning its decision to cancel the subsidy payment for the international art festival “Aichi Triennale 2019”.

Akahata learned this from a written response which a Cultural Affairs Agency official submitted to Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Motomura Nobuko who requested the agency to disclose documents concerning how the cancellation decision was made.

The Education Ministry’s external agency in April announced the policy of paying a 78-million-yen subsidy to the Aichi Triennale organizing committee in accordance with the recommendation of an expert panel. Last week, however, it published a retraction of the subsidy.

Explaining the reason for the retraction, Education Minister Hagiuda Koichi insisted that at the time when the organizing committee filed the application for the government subsidy, the committee should already have been aware that perhaps it would have to close down part of the exhibition due to controversy arising in regard to the content. The minister added that it did not inform the agency of this possibility. Hagiuda said that this is a highly inappropriate act from the viewpoint of the application procedure. As the culture agency kept no records, the reasons behind the decision to cancel the subsidy has been left in the dark.

When applying for the agency’s subsidy program, applicants are not required to notify the agency of a possible risk of premature closure or of security plans.

Suspicion is growing that the agency refused to pay the subsidy because it itself was critical of some of exhibits in the art festival, which is tantamount to an act of censorship.

Only a few days after the Aichi Triennale 2019 opened in August, the organizing committee had to close part of the event due to threatening calls and e-mails. The shuttered exhibition displayed art works such as a statue symbolizing wartime Japanese military “comfort women”.

Past related articles:
> Political pressure on exhibit of ‘statue of Korean girl’ in Aichi Triennale violates Constitution banning censorship: Koike [August 4&5, 2019]
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