Hermitage cuts short Japan exhibition tour

29th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A major Russian museum has cut short an exhibition tour of Japan over fears of radiation from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, an official said Thursday.

The State Hermitage Museum cancelled an exhibition of Russian and European glass scheduled to run for three months from December in Takasaki, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Tokyo.

"It was due to harmful rumours arising from the nuclear accident," Katsutoshi Taniuchi, a curator at the prefectural Museum of Modern Art in the city, told AFP.

"There is no safety problem at all in our city as far as radiation is concerned."

The museum is located some 210 kilometres from the Fukushima plant where nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns after cooling systems were crippled by a massive earthquake and tsunami which ravaged Japan's northeast on March 11.

The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg started the tour in June in Sapporo, northern Japan.

The exhibition, featuring 327 items of art glass from the 18th to early 20th centuries, was then held in Tokyo for more than two months. It will go on to Okayama, western Japan, for a one-month display from Saturday.

Tokyo is located about 220 kilometres from the plant.

"They formally informed us last month to call off the exhibition at our place because they did not want to keep the collection too long in Japan for fear of radiation," Taniuchi said.

He added that his museum will instead stage an exhibition of fin-de-siecle art of Paris, including works by French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

"It may be better for the general public as it is very amusing," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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