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Missing Artworks Raise Accountability Issues at Japanese Museum

Exterior view of Arts Maebashi. Courtesy Arts Maebashi.

Arts Maebashi, a public museum in Japan’s Gunma prefecture, is struggling to rehabilitate its reputation after its misplacement of six borrowed artworks— including four woodblock prints and two calligraphy works—and its former director’s delays in reporting the incident.

An anonymous curator first discovered the loss of three works on January 6, 2020, during an inventory check, and on February 3, 2020, staff learned of three more missing pieces. These cases were relayed to Fumihiko Sumitomo, the museum’s director at the time…

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