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Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 14:00 - 15:00

 "Non-Freedom of Expression Exhibition at Aichi Triennale 2019"


Takashi Kawamura, Mayor of Nagoya

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.



A couple of months after artworks satirizing Japan's wartime past were removed from but then reinstated at an international art festival in Nagoya, the country remains split over the freedom of expression with its conservative government taking a side.

Takashi Kawamura, the outspoken mayor of Nagoya, comes to the Club to speak about his intolerance of these exhibits – in particular the statue of a Korean girl symbolizing Asian women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II and a video showing a burning portrait of the late Emperor Hirohito. He says that the two examples "trample on the hearts of Japanese people" and should not be displayed at an event using taxpayers' money.

A total of 16 artworks, which had been previously barred from publicly funded exhibitions, were grouped together at Aichi Triennale 2019 and titled the "Exhibition on Non-Freedom of Expression" in Japanese. But the exhibition was immediately removed after the festival opened in August drawing attacks mostly from the right political spectrum including a threat of arson. Amid a public outcry against alleged censorship, the Non-Freedom section was reinstated just a week before the 2.5-month-long festival closed.

Kawamura, 71, a former Lower House member, staged a sit-in leading a chorus of protests against the resumption of the show. In a recent open letter, he has also criticized major newspapers for describing his action as ignorant or tantamount to political pressure.

The government has subsequently withdrawn a promised subsidy for the entire Triennale. In October, the Japanese embassy in Austria stopped support for an art exhibition in Vienna commemorating the 150th anniversary of bilateral ties – after learning that the "Japan Unlimited" show contained works critical of Japan and featured a few of the "Non-Freedom" exhibition participants.


Doors open for TV crews only at 13:30, all others at 13:45. Please reserve in advance, 03-3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation. Livestreaming of press conferences are available on our website(

*Due to space restrictions, please note there will be a limited number of reservations to attend. FCCJ members, including TV cameras, will have priority for the reservation and seating/setting positions and one TV camera for affiliate networks.

Professional Activities Committee

Dec 10 19 PC Takashi Kawamura012


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