Southern Japan Islands to Get UNESCO World Heritage Status

Politics Culture Society

Tokyo, May 10 (Jiji Press)--A UNESCO advisory panel has recommended the registration of Amami Oshima and other southwestern islands in Japan as natural assets on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Japan's Environment Ministry said Monday.

The recommendation was made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the ministry said. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is expected to formalize the registration at its online meeting on July 16-31.

The areas seen for the World Heritage designation--Amami Oshima and the island of Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, northern parts of the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, an island prefecture, and Iriomote Island in Okinawa--are as large as 42,698 hectares. About 100 animal species on the IUCN's Red List, including the Amami rabbit and the Okinawa rail, inhabit the southwestern Japan islands.

In February 2017, the Japanese government recommended the islands to UNESCO, aiming for their World Heritage listing in summer 2018. But the IUCN proposed in May 2018 the deferral of the registration, noting that the country had failed to comprehensively designate areas in order to protect rare species of wild fauna and flora.

The government reviewed the areas and resubmitted its proposal in February 2019, seeking the registration of the islands in summer 2020.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press