Japan’s Mount Fuji is expected to officially become a World Heritage site when the committee has its annual meeting in Cambodia later this June.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO for short, put forth its official recommendation yesterday evening.
UNESCO, founded in 1972, is based on the belief that there are places on our planet that are of outstanding universal value and should therefore be part of a common ‘world’ heritage for all of mankind to appreciate and enjoy.
The advisory panel IMOCOS noted that Fuji, with its rich artistic and religious traditions, meets these requirements. A national symbol of Japan, Mt. Fuji covers a total of 70,000 hectares – an area which includes 5 lakes and the beautiful Shiraito Falls.
When asked for a comment, an official in the Shizuoka prefecture said, “We’re excited by the news. We hope Mount Fuji’s global awareness will increase after it becomes a World Heritage site“.
The Governor of Yamanashi, Yokouchi Shomei, was also pleased with the recommendation.
“We plan to work with the Shizuoka prefectural and central government to assist with the process of registering Mount Fuji as a World Heritage site” Yokouchi said.
Japan’s government officially asked to register Mt Fuji back in January of 2012. In December, ICOMOS requested more details about the application. The committee took issue with the inclusion of the Miho Pine grove and noted that because the grove is located 27 miles away from the mountain’s summit, it cannot be included as part of the heritage site.
When officially approved, Mt. Fuji will become Japan’s 13th World Heritage site. The last to be added was the Hiraizumi area which was added back in 2011.
By becoming a World Heritage site, countries gain access to the World Heritage fund, which provides up to $4 million dollars annually to assist in the goal of identifying, preserving and the promotion of member sites. World Heritage sites usually see a rise in tourism which also help to boost local revenue streams. In the event of an emergency, like a natural disaster, UNESCO can also provide emergency assistance for preservation or repair efforts.
Update – 06/29/13: The application for entry as a world heritage site has been approved. Fuji joins 18 other sites that are now considered global treasures. The list included 14 cultural related sites and 5 natural.
07/17/13: Fujiyoshida City has just released a mascot to help promote the new world heritage site. The character’s name is Saori and she will be the face of “Project Saori” which aims to promote tourism. Her likeness will be displayed predominately on gift products and other marketing merchandise. Uncharacteristic of other ‘moe’ mascots, Saori lists drinking alcohol as one of her hobbies. She is also listed at 23 years old, roughly 5-6 years older than other similar anime-manga mascots.
Source: NicoVideo News (Japanese)