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Japan eyes leaders’ visit to Hiroshima shrine during G-7 summit

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Japan is planning a trip to an island known for its UNESCO World Heritage shrine for the Group of Seven leaders during their summit talks in May in Hiroshima, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.

It is still undecided whether Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his G-7 counterparts will simply have dinner on Miyajima Island, home to Itsukushima Shrine and its gigantic torii gate in the Seto Inland Sea, or hold one of the summit sessions there, the source said.

The plan emerged as the government of Kishida, who represents a constituency in the city of Hiroshima, aims to raise the international profile of other tourist spots in the western Japan prefecture.

The island is in Hatsukaichi city and is about 15 kilometers southwest off Hiroshima, the main venue for the three-day summit, which starts on May 19.

Meanwhile, the source pointed out security concerns, as the leaders of the G-7 states — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union — would need to travel to the island by ship or helicopter.

In 2016, when Hiroshima hosted a G-7 foreign ministers gathering, Kishida, who was Japan’s top diplomat at that time, and his counterparts watched a classical Japanese dance and music show at Itsukushima Shrine.

Last month saw the completion of some major repair work at Itsukushima Shrine that took three and a half years and saw the torii gate fully covered by scaffolding.

Known as one of Japan’s three most scenic places, Itsukushima Shrine was registered as a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Cultural Heritage site in 1996.

Source : The Mainichi