The Constitution of UNESCO was signed on November 16th, 1945 in London and came into effect the following. Japan became a Member State in 1951, when at a time it still did not belong to the United Nations until 1956. Thus, this marked Japan’s memorable step in returning to international society. Actually, UNESCO activities in Japan had already begun in 1947, and these still remain a driving force in promoting private UNESCO activities. Moreover, Japan is said to be the first country to establish a private UNESCO association.

World Activities Year Activities in Japan
Adoption of the Constitution of UNESCO 1945  
Enactment of the Constitution of UNESCO. Foundation of UNESCO 1946  
  1947 Birth of the Sendai UNESCO Association, the world ' s first UNESCO association
  1948 Foundation of the Federation of National Cooperative Associations, renamed the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan in 1951
  1951 Japan admitted to UNESCO
  1952 Proclamation of the Japanese law concerning UNESCO activities,Birth of Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
Foundation of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO 1961 Establishment of the Centre for East-Asian Cultural Studies for UNESCO
Launch of the Man and the Biosphere Program(MAB) 1971 Establishment of Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
  1972 The 3rd World Conference on Adult Education, Tokyo
Launch of the International Geological Correlation Programme 1973  
Launch of Asian-Pacific Environmental Educational Research Seminar (APEID) 1974  
Launch of International Hydrological Program (IHP) 1975  
Launch of IOC Sub-commission for the Western Pacific(IOC/WESTPAC) 1977  
Withdrawal of USA from UNESCO 1984 World Convention of the Non-governmental UNESCO Movement, Sendai
Withdrawal of UK and Singapore from UNESCO 1985  
Launch of the Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL) 1987  
  1989 Launch of the “ World Terakoya Movement ” by National Federations of UNESCO in Japan
World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand) 1990  
Amendment of the UNESCO Constitution 1991  
  1992 Ratification of the Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage
Launch of Management of Social Transformation (MOST) 1994 Launch of the Project of Literacy Resource Centres for Girls and Women (ACCU)
  1995 Commemorative ceremony for the 50th anniversary of UNESCO, Tokyo
  1996 The 3rd General Conference of IOC/WESTPAC, Tokyo
Return of UK to UNESCO (July 1st ) 1997 Regional Conference on Higher Education, Tokyo Asia/Pacific International Conference for Information Infrastructure Improvement, Tokyo Commemorative ceremony for the 50th Anniversary of Non-governmental UNESCO Movement Initiation, Tokyo
World Conference on Higher Education, Paris 1998 Asia/Pacific Environmental Education Seminar, Tokyo
The 22 nd Annual Convention of the World Heritage Committee (WHC), Kyoto
World Conference on Science, Budapest
MATSUURA Koichiro inaugurated as Director-General
World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal) 2000  
  2001 Commemorative Ceremony for the 50th anniversary of Japan joining UNESCO, Tokyo
  2002 Ratification of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property
Launch of the United Nations Decade of Literacy
Return of USA to UNESCO (Oct 1st )
2003 Closing of the East Asia Cultural Research Centre for UNESCO
  2004 Ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (PDF FILE)
Launch of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) Re-election of MATSUURA Koichiro as the Director-General (~2009) 2005 The 12th International Bioethics Committee Meeting, Tokyo
  2006 Establishment of the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management(ICHARM), Tsukuba
Return of Singapore to UNESCO (Oct 8) 2007 Commemorative ceremony for the 60th Anniversary of Non-governmental UNESCO Movement Initiation, Yamaguchi Proposals by the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO Regarding the Further Promotion of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Ratification of the Hague Convention
2008 International Forum on ESD Dialogue 2008 (Tokyo)
Mr. MATSUURA Koichiro completed his terms of Director General of UNESCO
Ms. Irina Bokova inaugurated as Director-General of UNESCO.
2009 National Conference for UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) in Japan has started annually
2011 Establishment of the International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI) (Sakai City)
2012 The Closing Event of the Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention (Kyoto)
Director-General Irina Bokova reappointed (~2017) 2013
Formal announcement of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD (2015~2019)
Establishment of UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development
2014 UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) ( Aichi-Nagoya, Okayama)
World Education Forum 2015 (Incheon, Republic of Korea)
Adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN Summit)
Education 2030 Framework for Action (2015~2030) adopted (UNESCO General Assembly)
Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label “UNESCO Global Geoparks”
2016 Number of UNESCO Associated Schools has reached more than 1,000.
Establishment of the Center for supporting ESD activities (National Center: Tokyo, Local Centers: 8)
Ms. Irina Bokova completed her terms of Director-General of UNESCO.
Ms. Audrey Azoulay inaugurated as Director-General
U.S. and Israel withdraw from UNESCO in December 2018
International Hydrological Programme (IHP) renamed Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) 2019 Regional Planning Workshop for the North Pacific and Western Pacific Marginal Seas towards the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Tokyo)
Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs (ESD for 2030) (2020~2030) 2020
The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021~2030) 2021

(Office of the Director-General for International Affairs)