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What is World Heritage?

1. World Heritage Convention
(Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage)

(1) Purpose of the Convention

To promote cooperation system among nations to protect the cultural and natural heritage against the threat such as damage or destruction, from the viewpoint that it’s important to protect and conserve them as the global heritage for the whole humanity.

(2) History

1972Adopted by the 17th UNESCO General Assembly.
1975Convention came into effect.
1992Japanese diet approved the conclusion of the convention and become effective.
2011Number of the State Parties is188 as of October.

2. Process for the inscription on the World Heritage List

1.Each State Party submits the “Tentative List” which provides the name of properties the State Party intends to consider for nomination.
2.Each State Party nominates the properties from the “Tentative List” which are ready for inscription. UNESCO World Heritage Committee then decides whether they are inscribed or not.

3. Number of Properties

Total 936 as of June 29, 2011 (Cultural Sites:725 Natural Sites:183 Mixed Sites:28)

4. Japanese Properties on the World Heritage List (Cultural Sites:12 Natural Sites:4)

 Name of the PropertyLocationRegistered
on the Tentative List
1Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji AreaNara1992Dec.1993Cultural
4Shirakami-SanchiAomori   Akita1992Dec.1993Natural
5Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)Kyoto, Shiga1992Dec.1994Cultural
6Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and GokayamaGifu, Toyama1992Dec.1995Cultural
7Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)Hiroshima1995Dec.1996Cultural
8Itsukushima Shinto ShrineHiroshima1992Dec.1996Cultural
9Historic Monuments of Ancient NaraNara1992Dec.1998Cultural
10Shrines and Temples of NikkoTochigi1992Dec.1999Cultural
11Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of RyukyuOkinawa1992Dec.2000Cultural
12Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain RangeMie,Nara,
2001July 2004 Cultural
13ShiretokoHokkaido2004July 2005Natural
14Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural LandscapeShimane2001July 2007Cultural
15Ogasawara IslandTokyo2007June 2011Natural
16Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure LandIwate2001June 2011Cultural

5. Properties on the Tentative List of Japan (Cultural Sites:12 Natural Sites:None)


1. Temples, Shrines and other structures of Ancient Kamakura (Kanagawa)
2. Hikone-jo (castle) (Shiga)


3. Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Industrial Heritage (Gunma)
4. Fujisan (Shizuoka, Yamanashi)
5. Asuka Fujiwara:Archaeological sites of Japan's Ancient Capitals and Related Properties (Nara)
6. Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki (Nagasaki)
7. Main Building of the National Museum of Western Art (Tokyo)


8. Jomon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido, Northern Tohoku, and other regions
     (Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate,Akita)
9. The Modern Industrial Heritage Sites in Kyûshû and Yamaguchi
     (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Yamaguchi)
10. Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region (Fukuoka)


11. The Sado complex of heritage mines, primarily gold mines (Niigata)
12. Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, Ancient Tumulus Clusters (Osaka)

Process for the inscription on the World Cultural Heritage List

Submit the "Tentative List" to the World Heritage Committee, which includes the name of properties that they intend to nominate.


Preparation work for the nomination (Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and identification of the property).


Decided the property ready for nomination sequentially from the Tentative List


Submit a draft nomination to UNESCO World Heritage Committee for comment and review (optional).
[Submission due date : September 30th every year]
(Examination of the nomination format by UNESCO World Heritage Centre)


Submit the Nomination Dossier (Final) to UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
[Submission due date: February 1st. every year]


ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), an international NGO that is an advisory body to the World Heritage Committee, carries out the evaluation of World Cultural Heritage nominations.
[It takes around 1.5 years including on-site evaluation missions]


ICOMOS makes the recommendation to the World Heritage Committee, based on their evaluation result.
[Usually in May]


The World Heritage Committee decides whether each nominated property should be inscribed on the World Heritage List or not.
[June or July in the following year of the nomination]

[Decision Category]

Four decision categories determined by the UNECO World Heritage Committee are as follows:

1. Inscription :

Inscribe the property on the World Heritage List.

2. Referral :

Refer back to the State Party for additional information. May be resubmitted to the following Committee session for examination.

3. Deferral :

Defer a nomination for more in depth assessment or study, or a substantial revision by the State Party. Resubmission will be revaluated during the course of the full year and a half evaluation cycle

4. Decision not to inscribe :

The property should not be inscribed on the World Heritage List. The nomination may not again be presented to the Committee except in exceptional circumstances.