Japan's John Lennon Museum to close

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The Independent Online

The world's only authorised John Lennon Museum, on the outskirts of Tokyo, will close its doors in September when a deal with his widow Yoko Ono ends, the operator said Thursday.

The museum dedicated to the former Beatle opened in Saitama north of Tokyo in 2000 on the 60th anniversary of Lennon's birth and displays about 130 items, including guitars, stage costumes and hand-written lyrics.

"After 10 years here, John's spirit is now moving on - looking onward to the next journey," said Ono in a statement. "Thanks to your love for the museum, what we'd thought would be five years became 10."

The number of visitors had declined to about 30,000 a year compared to 124,000 in the first year, said Koji Uzuhashi, spokesman for construction company Taisei Corp which runs the museum.

"In total, the number of visitors reached 550,000 people as of January."

He added: "I have heard some scraps of information that there is a fresh plan to prepare a similar museum after the items are returned" to Ono.