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Palme D'Or-winning director Kore-eda refuses invitation from Japan culture ministry

Director Hirokazu Kore-eda holds the Palme d'Or for the film 'Shoplifters' following the awards ceremony at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 19, 2018. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

TOKYO -- Director Hirokazu Kore-eda has turned down an invitation from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to celebrate his film "Shoplifters" winning the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in late May.

Kore-eda announced his refusal in a message posted to his website, saying that turning down the invitation is "the right thing." In the posting dated June 7, he also revealed that he had turned down similar requests from local authorities.

"Reflecting on the past where the film industry became united with 'national interest' and 'national policy,' I tend to think that keeping a clear distance from government authority is the right thing to do."

Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has told the House of Councillors education and science committee that he would like to invite Kore-eda to come to the ministry for a celebration, although he had not found out if the director would accept such an offer. "We are very happy and proud of (his) winning the Palme d'Or," said Hayashi, in response to a question from Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Mieko Kamimoto.

Le Figaro, a French newspaper, has reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not congratulate Kore-eda because of his critical stance on the current state of Japanese politics.

(Japanese original by Takuya Izawa, City News Department)

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