In 2020 Japan will host a prestigious event: the Summer Olympics. Tourists will swarm by thousands, using their stay to explore this fascinating country in order to become more familiar with the Japanese culture.

Buddhist temples will certainly be on the agenda for visitors who want to enjoy the beauty of these ancestral places. On maps indicating the location of these temples, a very ancient symbol is used, the Swastika. For Westerners, this symbol is associated with Nazism, but in the Japanese culture, the meaning is completely different, it is a Buddhist “manji” symbol of wisdom and energy; Swastika literally meaning “to be good”!

The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, responsible for promoting tourism in the country, recommended replacing the Swastika by another symbol, a three levels pagoda, to indicate the temples on maps, in anticipation of the 2020 Olympic games.

The Raelians, who have for religious symbol a Swastika in the center of a Star of David, which means “Infinity in time and space”, were very surprised and outraged by the intention of the Japanese authorities. They think it would be far better to provide the proper information about this symbol, rather than simply removing it.

That is the reason why during the month of February several Raelians around the world gathered and took to the streets to raise awareness about the Swastika and also to put pressure on the Japanese authorities. In Canada, in addition to demonstrations in several cities, a letter was handed to the Japanese ambassador in Ottawa and to the Japanese consuls in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Various student associations, Japanese, Buddhist and Hindu organizations, as well as the press were informed of this campaign. We have to remember that the Swastika is still in use as a revered religious symbol in the Hindu regions of India, in Tibet and also in China. For more information on this subject:

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