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An Egyptian minister and three scholars on Thursday said people need to appropriately examine their own culture as well as foreign influences to gain a national identity and a global perspective in the 21st Century.

At a symposium in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, Mervat Tallawy, Egyptian Minister of Social Security and Social Affairs, argued that people need to be well educated to appropriately decide which foreign influences they should adopt — and which they should ignore.

Otherwise, said Tallawy, a former ambassador to Japan, globalization becomes merely a cultural invasion into all non-Western countries, which in turn benefits Western or advanced nations.

During the symposium, titled “Living in a Multicultural Society,” Gregory Clark, president of Tama University, added that people must sincerely examine both their own cultures and those of foreign nations to appropriately respect all the cultural traits in the world.

Pointing out that regional conflicts in world history all had specific objectives, Junzo Kawada, a professor of anthropology at Hiroshima City University, criticized the current media trend of attributing the causes of conflicts merely to cultural and ethnic differences.

Stephen Shigematsu, an associate professor of psychology at Tokyo University, said that people must develop a sense of global citizenship through learning about a broad range of cultures.

The symposium was arranged by the Tokyo Forum, a nonprofit organization, and supported by the Foreign Ministry, the Egyptian Embassy and The Japan Times.

Kawasaki Steel to buy into Dongkuku

Kawasaki Steel Corp. announced Thursday it will take a 4 percent stake in Dongkuku Steel Mill Co., a major steelmaker in South Korea.

Kawasaki will purchase 2.8 million shares — out of a total of 70.42 million outstanding shares of the Seoul-based firm — for 1.5 billion yen Nov. 8.

Kawasaki, which has been expanding its business in South Korea through its exports of unprocessed steel material to Dongkuku, will also set up an office in Seoul to conduct market research, company officials said.

Thursday’s move is in line with the two firms’ comprehensive alliance that was sealed in July.

Kawasaki will supply 30,000 tons of partially fabricated slab — a basic material for steel plates — and 40,000 tons of hot-rolled steel plates by December, company officials said.

Kawasaki is considering sending executives to the company and providing technological assistance in areas such as surface-treated steel sheets, they said.

Dongkuku had asked the company to take a 10 percent stake. Kawasaki said it may take a larger stake in the future.

Kawasaki has hammered out a plan to use its domestic capacity to the fullest by expanding exports to the promising Asian market.

It is searching for partners in Southeast Asia, in addition to Dongkuku.

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