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German customs seize Stradivarius from another Japanese musician

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Stupid Germans!

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Another day, another shake down.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

is germany so hard up for money that they would do such ridiculous things? this is just so sick on so many levels.

15 ( +16 / -2 )

Germany has to pay for all of those Greek loans, perhaps the Japanese government send their ambassador home or something.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I think there is some ignorant and overzealous paper pusher in German customs with a bit of Asian resentment who just got to the top of the command chain... another couple of these incidents and JP authorities pushing a bit and he will be relived off his duties....

14 ( +15 / -1 )

German customs should stop being such stiffs, especially if she carried all that documentation with her.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Some pea brained bureaucrat is being an idiot about this.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

It's time for a highly publicized boycott of Germany by prominent musicians and orchestras.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

As Alex Einz said the German Customs are "ignorant and overzealous", and I had a very funny experience with German Customs in Frankfurt ages ago. I was carrying a small pack of a special potent chili powder in my checked baggage, and the Customs asked me to open it. I told them that it was potent and I did not want to open it . But he persisted, probably thinking it was drugs. I told him he can open it himself, and he did, then I knew what what was going to happen! He bent down and took a whiff of the chilli powder and screamed and ran as fast as he could, shouting a barrage of expletives at me. I was cleared and I ran out of Customs, found a quiet corner and started laughing hysterically!

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Idiots!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

jazz350, unfortunately you created a monster that day. Over the years since then, this same inspector rose up the chain of command and vowed to take revenge upon reaching the top. Now you can see the result.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I know the Eurozone is hard up for cash right now but come on Germany... How many times do you wish to act like complete and utter morons?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This really makes German customs look really really bad.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Quit complaining. Rule is a rule. She should've known better. Carry the necessary documents and you have no problem.

-22 ( +0 / -22 )

take them to court!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is the German point of view? That the foundation is really using violinists as a way of export/importing violins without paying duty? Have there been examples of times when the foundation has leant instruments to musicians who subsequently sell them? The foundation's web page appears charitable, and not at all like an export business http://www.nmf.or.jp/english/

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is escalating into a kind of trade war

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@sfjp

Did you read the article ?

The instrument was taken away even after Janke showed her loan contract with the foundation, proof of insurance on the instrument, the violin’s photograph, and proof that the foundation had legally imported the instrument to Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

" The instrument was taken away even after Janke showed her loan contract with the foundation, proof of insurance on the instrument, the violin’s photograph, and proof that the foundation had legally imported the instrument to Japan. "

That does not make sense. She lives in Germany and tried to bring the instrument with her to Germany, so she would need proof that the violin has been legally imported to Germany, and not to Japan.

Is the article writer confusing Narita and Frankfurt?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sfjp330Oct. 05, 2012 - 08:56AM JST Quit complaining. Rule is a rule. She should've known better. Carry the necessary documents and you have no problem.

Read the whole article.

The instrument was taken away even after Janke showed her loan contract with the foundation, proof of insurance on the instrument, the violin’s photograph, and proof that the foundation had legally imported the instrument to Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Jazz 350 seems like its all your fault hahaha

1 ( +1 / -0 )

KariHaruta...please read the whole article.

All you have to do is to show ownership receipt. Janke "showed her loan contract" which means she did not own the violin. There is no proof of ownership by Janke and this is a problem for anybody bringing in anyvaluables to their country. All German goverment wants to see the proof of ownership which she didn't have.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Its a personal artificial in your use, them taking a violin as same as asking you to pay taxes on the company laptop you carry with you wherever you go... which is yes.. ridiculous. Anyway as I said above... couple more of this targeting Japan ( Germany has very good relationships with Japan ) and the dude will be let go....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I kind of agree with timtak, 2nd time it happens, there must be something we are not aware of there...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sounds like someone is trying to do their job too well.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is there any rhyme or reason to this?

Is it a free form of advertisement for new customs policies in Europe? Know the rules, people! (Snag a high-profile case, show bloody-mindedness in pursuing an innocent woman, and frighten people into realizing that from now on it will be easier to give up and pay?)

This is the second time, so surely it cannot be just knuckleheadedness???

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But then again you have to ask why a second Japanese woman would fly into the same Frankfurt Airport carrying an even more valuable violin?

No wonder they are trying to find out just what the rules actually are!

Surely a purchase receipt does not prove ownership. How do you prove ownership?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Time for a reality tv programme like Australia's Border Patrol? Oz has strict import and customs rules (as we are shown on the show) but everything is clearly explained. Even so, people try to take restricted items through customs. If German customs has nothing to hide we should challenge them to make such a programme! At least people would know the conditions under which they CAN bring stuff through...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everyone is harrassing Japan and Japanese these days. It is the new fashion.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What is the matter with the German customs officers? Have they not learnt from the first incidence? And this second incidence happened to a German born Japanese; German father and Japanese mother and thus has an Asian look. Anne Sophie Mutter is a famous German violinist carrying an equally, if not more, expensive and world renowned violin too. How come she does not get stopped by the German custom officers? Is it because she is truly Gerrman and that she is 100% Caucasian? For the sake of all the people in Germany, these nincompoop customs officers need to be disciplined, or better yet, replaced.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well this isn't the first time in history that German officials went around confiscating prized possessions from folks...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Even in Ms Horigome’s case, she doesn’t know exactly what (the German customs) needed to release the instrument,” Narabayashi said.

They need about $1.5 million.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How ridiculous is this to split hairs. Its just a freakin fiddle anyway!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ridiculous period.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ahsir:

" Anne Sophie Mutter is a famous German violinist carrying an equally, if not more, expensive and world renowned violin too. How come she does not get stopped by the German custom officers? "

Because she carries proof of owership and proof that the instrument has been properly imported? Sorry for pointing out the obvious...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes, because twenty something award winning and well to do violin players always try and hoc their priceless violins, when they reach Japan to go on tour and visit family, lol. I mean even though the she followed all procedures, which is a good thing, I think is still sad, because it proves that their customs services lack common sense above all things

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How do you prove ownership?

For valuable antiques, there are some official catalogs that keep up to date data about who owns what, and in certain cases, they say one of their accredited experts must see the object to confirm (particularly in Japan where roughly 1/3 of what is in private collection is false). If you trust the custom to do the checking, they will... and that will take 6 months. You have to ask your country's authorities to issue you some document for each time you pass a boarder. Most people make their art collection cross borders only when they move. I can understand that's lots of paperwork for your music instrument, but well, if you make the choice to use museum ware and to tour the world with it, hire an assistant with a legal background to do the formalities for you.

showed her loan contract with the foundation, proof of insurance on the instrument, the violin’s photograph, and proof that the foundation had legally imported the instrument to Japan.

And what about the authorization for that specific trip ? It's negligence from her. Frankly does anybody here travel with a suitcase filled 1 million dollar in bank notes and a note signed by their brother-in-law stating they inherited the money last week ?

Carry the necessary documents and you have no problem.

You can still have problems... custom logic is not always your logic -some events can cause sudden changes of policy, and some individuals... ahem. Even inside E.U., or inside any country, there is not one truck that passes through like that, and each load of merchandise has to gets its documents. That there are no duties, doesn't mean there is no accounting, no reporting, nor anything. For art and antiques, it's not free circulation at all. An acquaintance is a museum curator, he organizes international exchange exhibitions like 24 times a year (both ways, they lend and borrow). It's a full time job for his team. He explained me he would never ever take the plane with artwork as luggage. You just don't show up like that with a letter signed by museum director. The normal custom staff cannot tell a real antique from a false, they can't even know the full list of artwork that are not allowed to leave each country, so they want it checked in advance and they also make additional experts come on the day you arrive if it's necessary. Each time, weeks or months (depending on value of objects) before his trip, he contacts the customs and both embassies, provides all documents and the objects don't leave his museum before he receives the green light and the customs gives him an appointment. Well if that guy, if he lost any museum valuable, he'd get his career terminated. A diva musician, oh they just cancel concerts and cry...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There must be more to this than meets the eye, because on the face of it, Frankfurt customs officers just look stupid.

Has there been a recent case I wonder of a Japanese person (possibly even Yakuza) selling a violin in Germany for a vast profit? Now something like that might explain increased vigilance.

To repeat myself, what exactly is proof of ownership? Having a sales receipt with my name on it? What if I bought it and got a receipt but later sold it to someone else and wish to sell it for them? I could use the original receipt, no? A signed declaration by a notary that I never intend to sell it? (People do eventually hope to sell things, especially an investment.) A series of insurance papers proving constant what?

Could they not take a bond off her, redeemable when she next leaves the country with the violin? Or would she have to prove it is the same violin? It all gets very messy...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

europe is gettting more shameful by the day , these people stop at nothing to get hold of cash to pay their governmental bills, this is blatant, but the bit where they chase away all business is even worse for the natives here, too primitive to see what's really going on. shame

0 ( +3 / -3 )

International extortion.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

33jw67:

" So, they are confiscating musical interments and forcing high duties on Japanese musicians in order to appease what, (when, where, why, how)???? "

Where do you get the "Japanese musician" from? The article says that, while she has a Japanese mother, she is German and resides in Germany. The violin, however, belongs to a Japanese organization, and of course the customs formalities have to be cleared when she brings such an expensive antique to Germany.

I expect the same applies in Japan. .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I assume she is a German national ( G father, J mother )? At least the german custom agent is equal opportunity extortisionist. Let's see what this board reaction would be if a Chinese or KJorean musician get into the same jam.................

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As usual, there seem to be several gaps in the story which are bound to disclarify the matter.

First of all, one should expect the case of the Belgium based violinist Horigome to have been discussed among musicians, so a certain awareness of there being a problem should be assumed.

Second: The violinist had the violin "on loan" from a Japanese foundation. Does that mean that she loaned it while in Japan (so she didn't have it with her when she left Germany) or did she have it with her when she left Germany? (In other words: Did she loan it some time before leaving the country with it?)

For the last case, a form comes in handy which serves well even for your battered, well-worn laptop which has been traveling with you for several years now. It's called a "Naemlichkeitsbescheinigung" (yes, that's the name, and it sounds funny even in German ears, but, hey, that's your tax euros at work...) You can download it from the internet or get it from any customs facility. Fill it out (and in doing so, clear all customs issues which might arise beforehand), get it stamped by customs prior to departure (send an assistant if you're too busy to do it by yourself), and upon return, produce the form at customs - case closed.

Having said all that, a healthy dose of common sense would do very well even for customs officials.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good post, detlef. Thanks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As in the last case there is still a lot of ignorance here about customs, duties/taxes etc

This woman & the Japanese owners ROYALLY SCREWED UP! All they had to do was MAKE A CARNET!

Then they can waltz through customs, simply get their carnet stamped on the way in & on the way out IT IS EASY.

This woman & the owners are the ones at fault, especially since its OWNED in JAPAN, & someone is hand carrying into GERMANY, so Customs is PERFECTLY free to assess any applicable duty/taxes on the assumption it MIGHT be sold while in Europe, because if it was then duty/taxes wud RIGHTFULLY APPLY!

Ignorance on the womans/owners parts are NOT AN EXCUSE.

All that said I hope common sense by both parties prevail & its settled, the owners shud agree to post a bond, refundable upon exit from Europe, otherwise known as a Temporary Import Bond(TIB), now get to it!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Damn, I know things are tough in Europe, but holding instruments for ransom is a new low.

First time I thought it was just a mistake, but it happened again so we have a pattern here.

What's next, the German government kidnapping tourists and not releasing them until the family pays a hefty ransom?

That's one way to pay for all the bailouts money Europe has to come up with.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Nah, I bet one of the German customs guys is an amateur violinist, and if he does this, he gets to play some of the best instruments in the world.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

haha farmboy, cud be LOL!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Completely incompetent customs officials. Stupid is as stupid does.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Proof of the new obnoxiousness of German Customs. What point are they actually trying to make?

German customs, who confiscated her Stradivarius saying she may plan to sell it

'She may plan to sell it' Wow, it takes intelligence and a wide imagination to come up with that one. I can only see this as harassment. The word should spread that Frankfurt is to be avoided and musicians carrying valuable instruments should use the Amsterdam Airport hub, which, by the way, is much more convenient and easier to find one's way, not to speak of friendlier staff as well.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Not so different in Japan. My friend, an event planner, was working on an event at which some artwork from France was to be displayed, Japanese customs said the same thing you see the Germans saying here. " You might sell the pictures in Japan so you have to pay duty on them". The pictures were impounded until they could be sent back to Paris.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'll be sure not to bring my Selmer sax through Germany!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If this is actually legal ( demanding ransom to get back stolen property ), then the Germans need to revamp their laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

techall, it is not the same as paintings are not used in performances. She is spreading culture from her performances. Something the Germans are suppose to support. So why are they harassing well known performers? There is more behind these actions.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

yuriO,

There is NO difference at ALL! I work in the freight biz & techall is BANG ON, the exact same thing happens in Japan ALL THE TIME, and rightly so.

There is a huge incentive to skip paying duty/taxes IF one is maybe going to sell something, a famous painting or instrument, we are talking 10s of thousands of $$$$ in duty/taxes so YES customs is going to be interested.

Bottom line is people/companies who are wanting to move these types of things around MUST get their crap together or pay the consequences.

This woman & the owner are simply STUPID BEYOND BELIEF, utterly clueless in fact, especially after the recent case.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We know why the germans are doing this, they need a inflow of cash after giving so much out to the failing EU countrys.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

GW it is an instrument used in her profession. So are we going to have and pay duty on our of our possessions when entering a country? Suppose Germany is trying to punish Japanese artists and if this happened to an American you would be outraged. Japan needs to cancel loans to the EU as a response. A bit of overkill but it is hard to get the attention of EU bureaucrats. What I want to know is why is the Japanese government doing nothing? The Germans have seized a national treasure.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

so you are suggesting Japan should pull all and future investment in Germany ( or even the whole EU ) ? First China, then EU ? Give up 2 MAJOR markets ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

oberst, I wrote about the 100 billion in loans to the EU. More like delay them to get their attention.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

YuriO, that should get their attention alright.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

YuriOtani: ... So are we going to have and pay duty on our of our possessions when entering a country? ...

Exactly! If your possessions exceed a certain value and you bring them into a country that they've never been (legally) imported into, you will have to pay duty.

Miss Janke returned to her home in Germany while carrying previous import documentation for Japan, meaning German customs actually have a point. This is not some kind of political affair or "Germany" punishing anyone .. just some stuffy customs officers ..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

YuriO,

Sorry but you are not making much sense, read this & learn

http://www.customs.go.jp/english/c-answer_e/keitaibetsuso/7303_e.htm

I can assure you the customs office at Narita wud LOVE to snag some yunyu shohizei on a few violins coming into Japan without the right paperwork AND THEY WOULD, musical instruments are dutyfree but ALL imports into Japan get nailed for 5% Import Consumption Tax & Duty(if applicable)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

GW, you've been mangled by JT's annoying habit of converting underscores to italics on/off commands. If you used the "LINK" button, it would have rendered properly. Here's the actual link:

http://www.customs.go.jp/english/c-answer_e/keitaibetsuso/7303_e.htm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Germany needs money for to bailout EU countries but it's stupid action of idiot German Custom.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GW it is an instrument used in her profession.

Yes, so in theory she should go through the same formalities of any company transporting/importing $8 Millions worth of industrial equipment. In many cases, professionals or companies are asked to pay the taxes at entry as a caution and they get that money back when the equipment leaves the country definitely. Sometimes, they have to pay the taxes, and lose that money. So far, I always had to pay and lose the money. Antiques and arts can be loaned and escape taxation, so it is a great privilege. But it is only if owners do the necessary applications. And well, these loans are supposed to be temporary. That's like driving in a country with an international license and a foreign registered and insured car, you are allowed it a while, then you must get the local license, import the car and change number plate and also insurance. If the violin is in E.U. is for long term, the foundation will have to fork some import tax at some point or sell it to her. They can afford it. The other musician in Belgium was another case, she obviously followed the tax and property rules, but she was negligent over travel documents.

So are we going to have and pay duty on our of our possessions when entering a country?

Yes. Sovereign countries can tax anything that enter their country. They usually let tourists bring personal clothes and a few omiyage, some cash money, it's a tolerance. Value is limited, usually around 500 000 yen /person in any currency and as much in luggage. If your wardrobe is more costly, you'd better check conditions. Another tolerance exists for people moving. They have a delay to bring in their household equipment. I think they told me I had 2 weeks when I arrived in Japan. During that time, no tax at all as that was personal luggage. Then maybe a few months with a low flat rate that transport companies are required to apply. But if you have lived years in Japan and want to import the content of some secondary house you have abroad, something you inherit from relatives abroad, they can ask you to pay consumer tax (like the 5% shorizei) on everything, plus other tariffs depending on objects.

if this happened to an American you would be outraged.

That happens everyday to many Americans in all American airports and boarder entry points. That's not reported as that's not news, that's routine. I guess YuriOtani's family lives in those sticks where nobody owns a passport, so nobody has even been to Canada or Mexico, even less taken the plane to overseas. If you lived in New-York, everybody or his brother has some experience of being asked to pay duty on the spot, and if they couldn't they had to let a luggage in JFK. Well, most luggage seized by US customs don't have $8Million of value. It seems American gadzillionaires are not that stoopid.

Suppose Germany is trying to punish Japanese artists

This woman is German, resident or citizen. They punish cheats that don't pay import tax. All my German friends just hate people that don't pay their taxes unless they are totally ruined and nearly living in the street, because most of them do pay a lot while they are not rich at all. A minister was recently shamed for not paying soon enough the duties on a 1000 euro carpet he brought back from Middle-East. So a little diva bootlegging her violin that is estimated at 100 years of average salary... She comes to Japanese media to get sympathy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You guys should read this article: www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/arts/music/nejiko-suwa-and-joseph-goebbelss-gift.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan needs to punish Germany for harassing its citizens. This will have the effect of musicians not going to Germany to perform. The violin is not her property but the museum that loaned it to her. I see the people who support Germany as Japanese bashers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cos, brevity is the soul of wit. What?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YuriO,

You need to stop letting yr emotions get the best of you, a common trait on these isles

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I guess it's custom's law in all countries for a returning residence bringing in valuable items to declare what they are bringing in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So a little diva bootlegging her violin that is estimated at 100 years of average salary... She comes to Japanese media to get sympathy.

Bootlegging her violin. I'd appreciate it to see that substantiated. This is more than just an opinion. Please retract that if there is nothing to prove it. A respected violinist with a Stradivarius on loan is not likely to peddle her instrument - but of course I can't prove that, not am I suggesting it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nor am I suggesting it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Nah, I bet one of the German customs guys is an amateur violinist, and if he does this, he gets to play some of the best instruments in the world."

Or maybe his daughter is competing in the same violin competitions!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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