Fürstenfeld, 21. June 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "Museum of Japanese art offers an opportunity for Fürstenfeld and for Austrian-Japanese relations"

Austrian State Secretary and Japanese Ambassador receive information on the state of planning

Fürstenfeld, 21 June 2013 – "The project of establishing a museum of Japanese craftsmanship in Fürstenfeld is a great opportunity for Eastern Styria, as also for Austria and for deepening the 144 years of relations between Austria and Japan that date back to the year 1869. There is regular cultural exchange between our two countries. The planned Japan Museum in Fürstenfeld is a unique opportunity to give the European public an understanding of Japanese culture", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said on the occasion of the visit to Fürstenfeld. The State Secretary and Japan's Ambassador to Austria, Shigeo Iwatani, together with Mayor Werner Gutzwar visited the site where the museum is planned to be established and received an update about the state of planning from the initiator of the project, Werner Hochegger, a business man from Graz and an authority on Japan. The concept of the museum would be unique in Europe.

It is planned to set up the Japan Museum, that is to exhibit art and cultural objects from all 47 Japanese prefectures, in "Schloss am Stein" in the centre of Fürstenfeld. The project plan also includes the building of Japanese thermal baths and a hotel nearby. "The combination of Japanese art, culture and spa treatments is a visionary concept that could trigger strong impetus for the region as a whole", Lopatka said.

The project is also of high relevance from the foreign policy perspective. "Japan is one of our most important trading partners in the Far East. Relations between our two countries are close and friendly. I therefore give my full support to the museum project. Ambassador Iwatani and I are now going to write a letter to the governors of the Japanese prefectures and ask them to support the project by providing art exhibits for the museum. As a next step, I will go to Japan to discuss the project further", the State Secretary concluded.

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