At present, out of the three national heritage sites which have been selected by Japan, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre has received recommendationsfrom ICOMOS and IUCN for two of them.

Press Release
May 7th, 2011
Agency for Cultural Affairs

Motsu-ji

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a property which is at first, selected out of a State Party’s Tentative List for nomination. The nominated property is then evaluated by two Advisory Bodies of the World Heritage Committee: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for cultural sites and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for natural sites. The World Heritage Committee then follows by making the final decision of a property’s inscription onto the World Heritage List.

At present, out of the three national heritage sites which have been selected by Japan, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre has received recommendationsfrom ICOMOS and IUCN for two of them. The following explains the details and assessment results concerning each one of these nominated properties.

Concerning another nomination “Architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding  contribution to the Modern Movement”, we have not received a recommendation from the Advisory Body to date, a notification will be made  in an additional document. We are in the process of confirming with the respective organs on the exact date of when this notification is to be sent.

(※)Advisory Bodies of the World Heritage Committee

●ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites)
ICOMOS works for the conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of cultural properties. It is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1965 with its headquarters located in Paris, France.

●IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources)
IUCN is an international organization which supports research aimed at conserving wildlife, the environment, and natural resources, and assists societies throughout the world to conserve nature. IUCN was established in 1948 and is located in Gland, Switzerland.

(Reference) "Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention"

Paragraph 30
The Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee are ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), and IUCN - the World Conservation Union.Paragraph 31
e) in the case of ICOMOS and IUCN evaluate properties nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List and present evaluation reports to the Committee;

(Reference) Evaluations by the Advisory Body fall under either one of the following 4 categories:

  1. Inscription: The property qualifies to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
  2. Referral: After additional information is submitted by the State Party, the nomination file will be reexamined after the following Committee session.
  3. Deferral: The nomination file requires a more in-depth analysis, and substantial revisions to the document are required. After the nomination file is resubmitted, an extensive assessment of around 18 months must be made by the Advisory Body.
  4. Not to inscribe : A property is deemed unsuitable to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. Excluding exceptional circumstances, the nomination may not again be presented to the Committee.

1 World Heritage Cultural Site candidate: Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land (Iwate Prefecture)

(1)Chronology of events:

April, 2001:    Hiraizumi is included in Japan's Tentative List of world heritage sites.
December, 2006: Japan submits a nomination file titled:“Hiraizumi – Cultural Landscape Associated with Pure Land Buddhist Cosmology”.
August, 2007:   ICOMOS specialists arrive for an on-site evaluation.
May, 2008:  ICOMOS notifies the deferral of Hiraizumi.
July, 2008: At the 32nd World Heritage Committee Meeting held in Quebec City, Canada, the WHC made decision on the deferral of Hiraizumi.
January, 2010:  Japan resubmits a nomination file titled: “Hiraizumi, - Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land”.
September, 2010:    ICOMOS specialists arrive for an on-site evaluation.

(2)Contents of ICOMOS Evaluation and Notification

<Summary>
ICOMOS has evaluated Japan's nomination file: “Hiraizumi, – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land" and has recommended that the nominated site is appropriate to inscribe on the World Heritage List.

<Recommendations >
○The Yanagi-no-Gosho archaeological site should not be included as a part of the property.
○Application of Criteria iv).
○Naming of this site.

2  World Natural Heritage Site Candidate: Ogasawara Islands of Tokyo

(1)Chronology of events:

January, 2007   Ogasawara Islands is included in Japan's Tentative List.
January, 2010   The Ogasawara nomination file is sent to UNESCO.
July, 2010  IUCN specialists arrive for an on-site evaluation.

(2)Contents of IUCN Evaluation and Notification

<Summary>
The IUCN has evaluated the Ogasawara Islands nomination file and has notified that the site is appropriate to inscribe on the World Heritage List.

3  Upcoming schedule of the three candidate properties submitted by Japan

At the 35th World Heritage Committee Meeting scheduled to take place in Paris during June 19th – 29th, based on the recommendations by ICOMOS and IUCN, inscription of the above two candidate properties to the World Heritage List will be decided.
The decision by the World Heritage Committee will fall under either one of the 4 categories of: inscription, referral, deferral, or, not to inscribe.
WHC will also determine the status of the nomination: "Architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement" as per scheduled.

※ Although the 35th meeting of the World Heritage Committee was initially scheduled to take place in the Kingdom of Bahrain, due to the prevailing situation, the venue of the forthcoming session has been changed to the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Contacts

Monuments and Sites Division, Cultural Properties Protection Division, Agency for Cultural Affairs

Masaki Sakamoto (Extension 2877) , Kazuhiko Nishi (Extension 4763)
  • 03-5253-4111 (Reception) , 03-6734-2877 (Direct)

(Monuments and Sites Division, Cultural Properties Protection Division, Agency for Cultural Affairs)