Recent International and Domestic Trends on the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention: the 6th Seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
Nearly 30 years have passed since Japan ratified the World Heritage Convention. Japan currently has 25 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, including “Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island” and “Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan”, which were recently added to the list in 2021. FUTAGAMI Yoko, Head, Cultural Properties Information Section, conducted a presentation about the recent international and domestic activities based on the World Heritage Convention, including the nomination, inscription, and protection.
Many nominated properties that were not recommended to inscribe on the World Heritage List by its advisory bodies, were eventually decided to be inscribed on the List at the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee conducted in Fuzhou, China, with both in-person and online attendees in July 2021. For example, “Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes (Western Segment)” nominated by Hungary and other states, was also decided to be inscribed on the list. This happened even though ICOMOS / International Council on Monuments and Sites, as an advisory body on cultural properties, concluded that it was “impossible to evaluate” because its boundary of the property was significantly modified soon before the session due to Hungary’s withdrawal from its nomination. Hungary noted discrepancies between the outcomes of the thematic study that ICOMOS performed in the past and their recent advice based on the mission triggered by its nomination, and the related states failed to reach agreements regarding how to deal with the advice provided. These hiccups may have influenced the Committee Member states to turn against ICOMOS. FUTAGAMI explained these issues related to the nominations to the World Heritage List, as well as the introduction of improvement measures, such as Preliminary Evaluation on the nomination dossiers at the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee.
In addition to the movements of the World Heritage Committee, since 2020, domestic discussions have been conducted in Japan at the Subdivision of World’s Cultural Heritage of the Council for Cultural Affairs regarding the nomination and protection of world heritage properties. FUTAGAMI presented information about its discussion points based on the materials published on the Internet.
Active discussions were conducted during this seminar on the challenges for domestic activities in the light of World Heritage nomination and protection. It provided a good opportunity for us to recognize the need for outreach on a wide range of related information.