The government has agreed to let a Japanese company take more than 100 Angkorian artifacts to Japan for a touring exhibition, a Ministry of Culture official said Monday.
“Through the exhibition, we hope that those artifacts can draw more tourists to visit Cambodia,” Undersecretary of State Chuch Phoeurng said. “Most Japanese do not know Cambodia, so when they see the artifacts, they will
travel to Cambodia.”
Chuch Phoeurng said that Senior Minister Sok An had facilitated the agreement that will allow the film production company Toey to take 130 artifacts on a 14-month tour of eight Japanese cities. The Japanese government has li-
censed the venture and Japan’s recently arrived ambassador, Fumiaki Takahashi, helped broker the deal, Chuch Phoeurng said.
Toey has agreed to pay the Cambodian government $100,000 for the artifacts’ restoration before they are shipped to Japan, Chuch Phoeurng said. He also said that the bulk of the exhibition will consist of artifacts from the warehouses of the National Museum and the Siem Reap Museum, items not currently on display.
The Ministry of Culture is still compiling the list of artifacts to be lent to Japan, before presenting it to Prime Minister Hun Sen for his approval. National Museum Director Khan Samen said Monday that the museum has plenty of artifacts it can afford to lend.
But he added that the shipping and handling of those artifacts is cause for worry.
“I am very concerned but the government has already agreed to let Japan borrow. We do not know what to do,” he said.
Chuch Phoeurng described the venture as common practice and beneficial to both nations.
“This is the world principle. If one country has artifacts, it can allow other countries to borrow. This way we can exchange our culture,” he said.
Chuch Phoeurng also said that a delegation of Cambodian cultural officials will accompany the artifacts during the tour to monitor their care and handling. Toey will cover the delegation’s expenses, he said. The Angkorian exhibition is scheduled to begin its tour of Japan in July 2005.