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If you’ve ever thought that the ¥1,500 admission ticket at the average touring exhibition in Tokyo is too expensive, consider this: The cost of insuring artworks for trips to Japan is around 0.2 percent of their appraised value.

So, imagine a Vincent van Gogh exhibition with 20 paintings, each valued at $50 million, or ¥4 billion (many of van Gogh’s works are worth more). The museum will be forking out ¥160 million to insurance companies. To cover that cost alone, it would have to sell more than 100,000 of those ¥1,500 tickets. That’s more than most exhibitions in Japan achieve, and of course there are many other expenses to be met.

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