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Aichi art festival row should not end with vague ‘reconciliation’

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A thick air of nontransparency hangs over the settlement of a row over the temporary suspension of a special exhibition titled “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’ ” that was part of the Aichi Triennale 2019 international art festival.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs has decided to grant a subsidy to the festival, albeit after a partial reduction from the initially planned 78 million yen ($723,000), in overturning an earlier decision to withdraw the subsidy altogether.

The Aichi prefectural government, one of the hosting bodies for the exhibition, was initially set to take the matter to court. But the prefectural government admitted to flaws in its own formalities and proposed a subsidy cut, which the cultural affairs agency accepted.

Some welcome the dispute’s resolution. That notwithstanding, there remains the undeniable fact that the agency, which is supposed to protect and foster culture, has forgotten that mission and taken an action that runs totally counter to it.

The “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’ ”........

© The Asahi Shimbun