My book, the first in Arabic, is a step forward in deepening Saudi-Japan relations

Exclusive My book, the first in Arabic, is a step forward in deepening Saudi-Japan relations
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Dr. Khalid Alrashoud signs copies of his book at ongoing Riyadh International Book Fair. (Abdulrahman Shulhub)
Exclusive My book, the first in Arabic, is a step forward in deepening Saudi-Japan relations
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Fumio Iwai, the Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, at the book signing by author of Saudi-Japanese relations Dr. Khalid Alrashoud. (Abdulrahman Shulhub)
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Updated 01 October 2023
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My book, the first in Arabic, is a step forward in deepening Saudi-Japan relations

My book, the first in Arabic, is a step forward in deepening Saudi-Japan relations
  • Khalid Alrashoud lived in Japan for 13 years and studied the historic ties between the two countries
  • Japanese envoy attends author’s signing event at Riyadh International Book Fair

RIYADH: The history of Saudi-Japan relations can be traced back to the early 20th century, but it was not well documented, and the few books written on the subject were available only in Japanese and English.

This prompted Khalid Alrashoud, who pursued a Ph.D. in transformation management and development engineering in Japan, to write a book on the growing relationship between the two countries — the first publication to appear in Arabic.

While signing copies of his book, “Saudi Japanese Relations,” at the Riyadh International Book Fair, Alrashoud spoke exclusively to Arab News, sharing the story of his connection to Japan, and what readers can expect from the publication.

Iwai Fumio, Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, also attended the book signing on Friday.

“It’s all about the Saudi-Japanese diplomatic relations. The book covers the relations between Japan and Saudi Arabia from the beginning, even before the establishment of the modern Kingdom in 1932, from 1920 all the way to 2022,” Alrashoud said.

“The first chapter touches on the early connections between Japanese and Muslims, which took place in China, and how this relationship developed over time to where it is today.

“What’s really special about this book is that it covers not only the political and diplomatic aspects, but also all the prominent engagements, whether social, cultural or trade relations,” he added.

Alrashoud began writing the book during his stay in Japan. He lived there for 13 years while completing an undergraduate program, and pursuing a master’s and Ph.D. He also has the highest-level qualification in Japanese language proficiency, the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, which covers language knowledge, and reading and listening ability.

“This helped me dig deep in literature written in Japanese,” he said.

“When I first started writing about the subject, I was shocked at how little was available. When it comes to looking for literature on bilateral relations, it was available only in English or Japanese, and wasn’t quite accurate. So, I took on this mission to write the book in Arabic, the first and only book in Arabic documenting Saudi-Japan relations. It took me about three years,” Alrashoud told Arab News.

Referring to his connection with Japan, Alrashoud said: “I worked there as a university professor and as a consultant in international relations. I also worked there for a number of years as a project manager for a Japanese company that is basically focusing on development partnerships with Middle Eastern countries.”

On what readers can expect from the book, especially on Saudi-Japan relations, he said: “If you are looking for a well-documented and well-written book that provides all the resources, whether in Arabic, Japanese or English, this is the book to read. And all the names mentioned are in Japanese and in English for researchers who want to take a step further and search even more on this topic.

“I worked very hard to make it easily understandable for anyone who is reading this book to be enlightened about the numbers and data. I remember when I first reached out to the Ministry of Economy and Planning in Saudi Arabia and asked for the data on bilateral trade. All this information they had was from around the 1980s. Then I reached out to the Japanese government and they had information documented from the 1970 and 1960s.

“So, I combined the two and I made graphs. In this book you will find information that you will not find in another book.”

Alrashoud also bought rare historic photos of Japanese officials who visited Saudi Arabia in the 1950s and earlier, and incorporated these in the book.

The book also deals with Saudi students studying in Japan.

“Yes, I was one of them. I was honored to be a part of the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program, and that’s where I completed my bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. It covers the numbers of students studying in Japan, and how the numbers increase and decrease.”

Alrashoud completed his Ph.D. in transformation management and development engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech).


Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day
Updated 22 February 2024
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Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.
 


Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve
Updated 22 February 2024
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Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.
 


Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.


Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors
Updated 22 February 2024
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Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors
  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.


Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines
  • Ministers reviewed latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with his French counterpart Stephane Segournet on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Brazil Faisal Ghulam and Walid Al-Smail, assistant director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, were also present at the meeting.