Tuesday April 24, 2018
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Japan’s devotion towards Indian dieties

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Kolkata: Hindu goddess Saraswati, the epitome of knowledge, arts, and wisdom, is worshipped not only by Indians in their homeland but also by the Japanese in a unique way, ie in the pool of water.

An art historian at the Indian museum, Benoy K Behl revealed about the various shrines worshipping goddess Saraswati. His exquisite display of photographs reveals unknown facts about the influence of Hinduism and Hindu deities in Japan.

Behl claimed that goddess Saraswati’s association with the mythical river Saraswati is the reason behind her worship in pools of water in Japan.

“There are scores of Hindu deities which are very actively worshipped in Japan. In fact, there are hundreds of shrines of Saraswati alone,” he said.

Behl, in one photograph, showed the goddess with a veena at a shrine located in Tokyo. His snaps also revealed that Osaka comprises one of the most impressive and tallest shrines of Saraswati in the world.

While Saraswati is worshipped as Benzaiten, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as Shoten. Garuda is known as Karura in Daiyuzan-Saijoji temple near Odawara.

What is further surprising is the fact that people in Japan worship other Hindu deities which are rarely done by Indians, “In fact, deities we have forgotten in India, such as Vayu and Varuna, are still worshipped in Japan,” Behl said

Preservation of Siddham, a 5th century Sanskrit script is also done by the Japenese, besides religion. At Gokokuji in Tokyo, a photo shows Japanese tombs with the Sanskrit letters.

“The Japanese cannot read this alphabet, but it is still used to respect the dead. It is very interesting that the 5th-century Siddham script, which has disappeared in India, is still in use in Japan. At Koyasan, they still have a school where Sanskrit is taught with Siddham,” the historian said. (picture courtesy: wordpress.com)

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Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

Trump to negotiate the trade deal with Japan

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
FILE IMAGE- Donald Trump

The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.

Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”

In fact, the trade deficit with Japan last year stood at $69 billion, far from the $100 billion that the US President claimed, according to the official figures by the US Department of Commerce.

The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.”

However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11.

Shinzo Abe
FILE IMAGE- Shinzo Abe.

On the other hand, during this four-day visit Abe has a special interest in getting an exemption for Japan from the 10 per cent and 25 per cent tariffs that the Trump administration imposes on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

Trump has granted a temporary exemption until May 1 to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.

Also Read: White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

Japan has been left out of the exempted countries despite being one of the US’s major allies, and for that reason Abe is trying to make use of his visit to secure a place on that list, although Japan barely produces aluminum and the amount of steel exported to the US stands at only around 5 percent of its total steel exports.  IANS

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