2. What does World Heritage mean?

World Heritage
Each country has highly valuable treasures that should be preserved with responsibility. To register them as World Heritage is a way of committing the whole of humanity to keep and transmit those treasures to the future generations. In addition, this Heritage contributes to World Peace, as it helps humankind to know and to accept mutual cultural differences more deeply.
 Below are the standards that UNESCO General Committee adopted in 1972, as the World Heritage Treaty, for registration of the treasures of each country. According to the World Heritage Convention, "Cultural heritage" is a monument, group of buildings or site of historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value. "Natural heritage" designates outstanding physical, biological, and geological features; habitats of threatened plants or animal species and areas of value on scientific or aesthetic grounds or from the point of view of conservation. UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to:
  1. " Encourage countries to sign the Convention and ensure the protection of their own natural and cultural heritage;
  2.  Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage list;"
 Registration Procedure
Each national government proposes the items for future World Heritage registration. When a national government proposes its World Heritage candidates, the World Heritage Commission chooses nominees and places them on a provisional list. The nominees on the list are kept for a period of 5-10 years. An appraisal investigation is conducted subsequently by the non-government international institution which receives that request. At the annual World Heritage Convention sites are selected and placed on the World Heritage list. The Heritage proposed must be protected by the appropriate legislation of the sponsor State.
 
Chart 3. Registration Criteria. The following are the six criteria for Cultural World Heritage Registration.
Code Criteria
i. Represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; or
ii.Exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning or landscape design; or
iii. Bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; or
iv. Be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history; or
v. Be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change; or
vi. Be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance (the Committee considers that this criterion should justify inclusion in the List only in exceptional circumstances and in conjunction with other criteria cultural or natural)
  
 Cultural criteria:
The criteria for the inclusion of cultural properties in the World Heritage List should always be seen in relation to one another and should be considered in the context of the definition set below:
  1.  "Monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science.
  2. Groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;
  3. Sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and of man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological points of view."
A monument, group of buildings or site - as defined above - which is nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List will be considered to be of outstanding universal value for the purpose of the Convention when the Committee finds that it meets one or more of the criteria shown in Chart 3, and the test of authenticity.
As a follow-up after the registration, reports of periodic maintenance are expected.
  
Recent Registration Trends
Chart 4 shows the countries with the most numerous World Heritage items as of June 2002. Japan has few World Heritage sites.
New features have been established such as "cultural scenery", "industrial heritage", "industrial scenery" and "archaeological scenery". These fit the contemporary world circumstances.  

Chart 4. Number of World Heritage registered items (as June, 2002)
Country
Number of Items
Cultural Heritage
Natural heritage
Combined heritage
Spain
37
33
2
2
Italy
36
35
1
0
France
28
26
1
1
China
28
21
3
4
Germany
27
26
1
0
England
24
19
5
0
America
20
8
12
0
Russia
17
11
6
0
Japan
11
9
2
0
Korea
7
7
0
0
Compared to major World Heritage countries, Japan World Heritage are few.
Registration facts
As of July 2002, there were 730 registered World Heritage sites in the entire world. These include 563 cultural heritage sites, 144 natural heritage sites, and 23 combined heritage sites. The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention), was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. Japan became a signatory of the Convention in 1992. So far it has two natural heritage and nine cultural heritage sites.

Some of the Japanese cultural heritage nominees on the provisional list are the following:
"Hikone Castle"
"Kamakura Temples, Shrines and others"
"Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage"
"Kii Mountain region Sacred Place and Road"
"Iwami Silver Mountain ruins"

Other Proposed Items in Japan include the following:
"The Shiretoko Peninsula"
"Naruto Strait"
"Zenkoji Temple"
"Mount Fuji"



Chart 5. Japanese World Heritage Sites
Name
year
Heritage
Type
Registration Criteria
Remarks (cultural assets appointment)
Horyuji Buddhist Temple and surrounding area
1993
Culture i., ii., d. and vi.
Many national treasures important cultural assets historic site
Himeji Castle
1993
Culture
i. and iv.
8 National treasures
74 Important cultural assets
Shirokami Mountain area
1993
Nature
ii.

Yaku Island
1993
Nature
ii. and iii.

Old Kyoto Capital cultural assets (Kyoto City, Uji City, Otsu City)
1994
Culture
ii. and iv.
Many national treasures, and important cultural assets from 17 ruins
Joining hands shape Shirakawa Village and Goka Mountain
1995
Culture
iv. and v.
Important traditional building group preservation area (2 combined heritages included)
2 Historic sites
The Hiroshima Peace Monument (Atomic Bomb Dome)
1996
Culture
vi. 
Historic site
Itsukushima Shrine
1996
Culture
i., ii., iv. and vi.
6 national treasures
14 important cultural assets
Old Nara Capital cultural assets
1998
Culture
ii., iii., iv. and vi.
25 national treasures
53 cultural assets
From 8 ruins groups
Shrines and temples of Nikko
1999
Culture
i., iv. and vi.
9 National treasures
94 cultural assets. Historic site
Gusku and related heritage group of Ryukyu Kingdom
2000
Culture
ii., iii. and vi.
2 Important cultural assets
7 Historic sites
1 Famous victory place
There is no World Heritage site in the main island of Kyushu (where Nagasaki is located).