Friday February 22, 2019

Japan’s men-only Ancient Religious Site Okinoshima (Fukuoka) up for World Heritage status

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Japan's men-only Ancient Religious Site Okinoshima (Fukuoka) up for World Heritage status, Wikimedia

Tokyo May 6, 2017: A Unesco advisory body has recommended adding Japan’s island of Okinoshima, a men-only ancient religious site in Fukuoka prefecture, to its World Heritage list, cultural authorities announced on Saturday.

The advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), notified Japan of its decision late Friday night, The Japan Times quoted the authorities as saying.

It is likely to be endorsed at a meeting of the Unesco World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, in July.

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If approved as recommended, the island, which is part of the prefecture’s Munakata region, will be the 17th set of Japanese cultural assets to be granted World Heritage status.

Including natural heritage items and sites, the addition will see the total number of Japanese assets on the list rise to 21.

Okinoshima still follow strict taboos from ancient times, including the controversial ban on women from entering the island, reports The Japan Times.

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Men setting foot on the island are first required to strip all clothes and perform a cleansing ritual.

It was also the site of numerous rituals involving prayers for the safety of ships and successful exchanges with the people of the Korean Peninsula and China between the fourth and ninth centuries.

Some 80,000 artefact brought as gifts from overseas have been uncovered on the island, including gold rings from the Korean Peninsula and glass cup fragments believed to have come from Persia.

These items have all been designated as national treasures. (IANS)

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Nissan’s Former Chairman Seeks Bail

Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges. Nissan said it regretted any concern caused to its stakeholders

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A court sketch, drawn by Nobutoshi Katsuyama, shows ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn during an open hearing at Tokyo District Court in Japan, Jan. 8, 2019.(voa)

Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has requested his release on bail after being indicted in Tokyo Friday on two new charges, his lawyers said, as the once-feted auto executive awaits a lengthy criminal trial that could be as long as six months away.

Ghosn was the overlord of an alliance that included Nissan Motor, Mitsubishi Motors and France’s Renault, until his surprise November arrest and removal as chairman of both Japanese automakers sent shockwaves through the industry.

The former executive, lauded for rescuing Nissan from the financial brink two decades ago, was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008.

Ghosn, former Representative Director Greg Kelly and Nissan itself were also charged for understating Ghosn’s income for three years through March 2018. The three parties have been indicted for the same charge covering the years 2010-2015.

Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges. Nissan said it regretted any concern caused to its stakeholders.

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Bail is rare

It is rare in Japan for defendants who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial. Kelly posted bail on Christmas Day and is unable to leave Japan without special permission.

Ghosn’s lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, expects his client to be held until trial, which he said could begin in about six months.

If bail is granted, Ghosn, who is suffering from fever, according to his lawyer, would not likely be released until Tuesday given that Monday is public holiday.

Kelly, a Ghosn ally, was hospitalized for treatment of a pre-existing neck problem after his release and has since been discharged, said his lawyer Yoichi Kitamura.

“This second indictment for Kelly comes as no surprise as it merely makes what was a five year period for the first into eight years,” Kitamura said.

Kitamura said he expects Ghosn and Kelly to be tried together on the two charges of understating income, and that he will work closely with Ghosn’s legal team.

Nissan complaint

Also Friday, Nissan said it had filed a criminal complaint against its former leader.

The automaker, in a statement, said it filed the complaint “on the basis of Ghosn’s misuse of a significant amount of the company’s funds. Nissan does not in any way tolerate such misconduct and calls for strict penalties.”

Ghosn, 64, appeared in court Tuesday for the first time since his arrest, looking thinner and grayer. He denied the allegations, calling them “meritless” and “unsubstantiated.”

He said he had asked Nissan to temporarily take on his foreign exchange contracts after the 2008-2009 financial crisis prompted his bank to call for more collateral. He said he did so to avoid having to resign and use his retirement allowance for collateral.

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Ghosn’s lawyer Otsuru on Tuesday said Nissan had agreed to the arrangement on condition that any losses or gains would be Ghosn’s. Ghosn said the contracts were transferred back to him and that Nissan did not incur a loss.

On Thursday, the boards of Nissan and controlling shareholder Renault, where Ghosn remains chairman, met for an update on the matter. Nissan later said it remained committed to the alliance. (VOA)