MFA’s sister museum in Nagoya, Japan, faces future with questions

The Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Japan.
The Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Japan.Kasho Kumagai for The Boston Globe

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When the Museum of Fine Arts decided to open a sister museum in Nagoya, Japan, it was out in front of an expansionist trend among major museums.

“This is a model for the entire world to look at and admire,” said Malcolm Rogers, MFA director, at the 1999 opening.

But the Nagoya museum has been plagued by financial problems, fluctuating visitor numbers, and a missing sense of conviction about its purpose.

With contract negotiations between Boston and Nagoya due to begin within the next year, MFA leaders face three options: They can quietly end the relationship; they can try to negotiate a new contract that keeps things much as they are; or they can find a way to give the relationship new life.

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