Sugihara Museum in Lithuania Facing Financial Hardships
Kaunas, Lithuania, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press)--A Lithuanian museum dedicated to Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), a Japanese diplomat who issued visas to help thousands of Jews flee the Nazis during World War II, is seeking financial aid amid difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.
The ambassadors of Japan and other countries in Lithuania have sent letters to the Baltic nation's culture ministry calling for the protection of the historical heritage.
The museum, located in the city of Kaunas, has been suffering from financial hardships as Japanese tourists, who made up more than 80 pct of visitors, decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
It was opened to the public in 2000 inside the renovated building of the former Japanese Consulate where Sugihara worked.
According to the museum, about 20,000 people had visited every year, but the number dropped to 2,737 and 1,244 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. It was closed for extended periods twice due to the pandemic.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]