Japan is considering introducing government-backed compensation as partial coverage for any damage to foreign artworks on loan to museums here, according to Cultural Affairs Agency officials.
The agency has taken up the matter because some countries will only send works abroad if government-backed compensation exists.
Such an arrangement also lowers insurance premiums for the art, according to the officials.
The threat of international terrorism and the effects of the Iraq war have reportedly caused art insurance premiums to shoot up and made it increasingly difficult for Japanese museums to bring in masterpieces from abroad, the officials said.
“In fact, Taiwan’s National Palace Museum does not lend cultural properties to countries that don’t have government-backed compensation,” said Yutaka Mino, chairman of the Japanese Council of Art Museums.
The absence of such compensation “could obstruct international cultural exchanges,” he said.
Mino said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States and other incidents have prompted artwork insurance premiums to rocket 50 percent.
The U.S., Britain, France and other countries already have compensation systems for works on loan from other countries, the agency officials said.