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Monday, 22nd September 2014
In General Japan News,

Japan's World Heritage nominations decided

The Japanese government has announced its intention to nominate a group of churches and other Christian sites in Kyushu for registry into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list for 2016.

Documents listing 13 sites in the Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures were unveiled earlier this week, among them the impressive Oura Catholic Church in Nagasaki City, which is said to be the oldest church in Japan.

A Cultural Affairs Agency panel last year recommended the sites for the 2015 entry into the UNESCO World Heritage List, but the government ignored the advice and instead nominated a group of facilities called the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution.

This year, the agency renewed its recommendation, citing the building's fascinating role in the introduction and spread of Christianity in Japan as their main reason for their belief the buildings should be preserved.

The government also decided to nominate Tokyo's National Museum of Western Art as a World Cultural Heritage site, as well as 16 other structures designed by Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier in a joint nomination with France and five other countries.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will decide whether to accept the recommendations in the summer of 2016.

Among the recommended sites, the Oura Catholic Church is perhaps the most fascinating. The building has been declared a place of natural importance as, for many years, it was the only Western-style building in the whole of Japan.

The country is home to many UNESCO-recognised buildings and places, and even traditional Japanese food preparation methods have been declared important enough for an entry.

However, the list tends to bring controversy as well as recognition, with a recent designation for Mount Fuji raising concerns of mass tourism and not enough money to improve facilities and instigate litter clearing patrols.


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