The UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided Saturday to add the Tomioka Silk Mill, a historic factory building symbolizing Japan’s industrialization from the 19th century, to the World Cultural Heritage list.
The mill and related sites in Gunma Prefecture became the 18th World Heritage property in Japan including natural heritage sites. They are also Japan’s first modern industrial heritage sites on the list.
In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his delight at the decision in a statement saying, “We would like to firmly protect this cultural heritage which is a treasure of the world and pass this on to the next generation.”
The Japanese government plans to recommend that a group of 28 sites related to the country’s industrial revolution in the Meiji era be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, informed sources said Saturday.
The 28 sites, located in eight prefectures mainly in the Kyushu southwestern Japan region, include coal mines, steelworks, shipyards and other facilities that led the country’s industrialization in the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The sites include facilities in operation.
The government plans to submit a recommendation for “Sites of Japan Meiji Industrial Revolution” to UNESCO later this month, the sources said. The World Heritage Committee is expected to consider the recommendation in 2015.
The government can recommend one candidate for registration on the World Heritage list each year. A recommendation for rival sites, “Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki,” is expected to be filed next year or later, the sources said.
A 10-day trial scheme to collect a 1,000-yen entrance fee from those climbing Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, was introduced on Thursday.
The entrance fee is charged on four routes leading to the summit of the 3,776-meter mountain, which straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures. Payment is voluntary.
Over the 10-day period, officials from the Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectural governments will be stationed on the four routes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to collect the fee. The four are the Fujinomiyaguchi, Subashiriguchi and Gotenbaguchi routes that start in Shizuoka and the Yoshidaguchi route starting in Yamanashi.
Those who pay the fee will receive a certificate and a badge. The money will go toward protecting the mountain, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in June, and for safety measures such as repairs of the routes.
Climbers will be asked whether they approve of the entrance fee and whether they think 1,000 yen is appropriate. By considering the opinions of climbers, the two prefectures are aiming to officially launch the scheme in summer 2014.