Monday April 23, 2018

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
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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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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