Update from (ICOM) Japan

 Prof.MIZUSHIMA, ICOM Japan

Dear colleagues, dear friends,

This is 3rd report from Japan on current situations.

Once again, I would like to thank you very much for sympathy and encouragement views of that message from ICOM and officials from other museums around the world to the Japanese people lost their life and property more valuable earthquake struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.

Full pictures of the damages caused by this earthquake have not yet been disclosed, but it was estimated to be serious damage to the natural heritages also many museums and cultural heritages. I would like to strive to museum officials in cooperation with all Japanese museum professionals but also for government aid allegiance for the aims to restore the museums as soon as possible.

On 27th March, the highway to the Northeastern region were all recovered. The emergency transportation are prior, but general peoples car are moving to that region for the support of foods, medicines and heating oil, etc.

We do not begin to investigate to the Iwate-Pref, Miyagi-pref, Fukushima-pref. But, the Ministry of Education and Cultural Agency has begun to investigate from Saturday, on 26th March, from the Ibaraki prefecture. Especially classified traditional architectural heritage villages, MAKABE, Ibaraki- pref. Still, architectural heritage specialists are examining about these damages.

Regarding the museums in that region, there are approximately 400 museums. According the voluntary worker who collected the information from several website on each museum’s condition or/by twitter, or the information from damaged museum, at the moment (as of 29th March) we now understand 144 museums current situation. Some museums are safe on one hand, some museums are strongly damaged on the other hand. Within 144 museums, very serious damaged museums are 31. (We will report to you later about these situations). Some museums were vanished by the Tsunami. 31 museums are needed special help. Therefore, we are now standing by to go to help.

We are now continuously collecting the date about the damaged museums and conditions of collections. We are trying to account the numbers. It takes much time. There are several websites, like All Science Museum Councils, Art Museums Fedaration, and regional associations. Today, I discussed with the secretary general of the Japanese Association of Museums, but they could not trace the total number. We need more time.

There is a kind proposal from the AIC (American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works) emergency response team. At the time being, we are now adjusting to receive the emergency team, firstly which region are very needed seriously. In addition, there is another proposal about the relief donations. We thank you very much and please kindly wait a moment about this proposal. Because we are now discussing whose bank account is the most effective. We will let you know in case of asking (receiving) the kind donations.

There are two cancellations on temporary exhibitions in Japan from abroad.