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Japan to display national treasure

The highlight of the World Expo 2010 Japanese pavilion will be a statue of Monk Jianzhen, one of the country's leading national treasures, a senior official of the Japanese government announced.

Jianzhen was a Chinese monk who popularized Buddhism in Japan in China's Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). He introduced a great deal of Chinese culture to Japan. The statue is a clay impression made from his body shortly after his death in 763 AD in Japan. It is now stored in the Toshodai Temple in Nara City.

The statue will be on display at the Expo as a symbol of Sino-Japan friendship and cultural exchanges, said Japan's Economic, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai, .

The Japanese government is constructing a special container to protect the statue to transport it to China, said Xu Dimin, the envoy of the Shanghai government and the Expo organizer in Japan.

Even if this container fell from an aircraft into the sea, the statue would not be damaged, Xu said.

The container will cost about 20 million yuan (US$2.92 million), he said.

The statue was brought to Jianzhen's original temple in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, in 1980 in a friendly exchange program between Japan and China.

Japan's Expo exhibition will highlight the historic period from 7th and 9th century when Japan sent dozens of envoys to China's Tang Dynasty to learn about the culture, science and technology, Xu said.

Sino-Japanese friendship will be the main theme of Japan's exhibition at the Expo, Xu said.

The country will also showcase the new technology it uses to tackle global warming, the shortage of water and an aging population, he added.

Robots will welcome visitors to the pavilion, Xu said. Robots that can take care of children and elderly people will also be on display.

At other Expos, robots have always been a highlight of Japanese pavilions. At the Expo 2005 Aichi in Japan, robots were the most popular item at the Expo.

The Japanese government will not trim its budget for Expo despite the current global financial crisis, Xu told Shanghai Daily, citing Hiroshi Tsukamoto, the commissioner general of the Japanese Section of the Expo.

Japan will build a 6,000-square-meter pavilion for the Expo. The 24-meter-high pavilion will be one of the largest pavilions at Expo 2010.


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