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Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on the Inscription of “The Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining” on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List (Decision at the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO)

July 5, 2015

1. Today, on July 5th (same day local time), at the 39th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, held in Bonn, Germany, a decision was made to inscribe on the World Heritage List “The Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution,” which Japan nominated as a candidate for the list. The Government of Japan is very pleased about the decision. I would like to welcome this decision with everyone involved in the process and would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations.

2. This property was highly valued as a series of heritage sites that played central roles in Japan’s industrialization of the heavy industries such as iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining, from the 1850s through 1910. I would like to pay my sincere tribute to the efforts by our ancestors who succeeded in achieving the first industrialization in the non-Western world through a process of trial and error. At the same time, I hope that the global role that this series of heritage sites played will be more widely appreciated worldwide through the decision made this time.

3. After the inscription was decided, Japan made a statement in order to reaffirm its position that Japan, as a responsible member of the World Heritage Committee, will sincerely address the recommendations by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The statement articulated the recognition that the Government of Japan has held hitherto. There is no change whatsoever to the position that the issues relating to property and claims between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), including the issue of requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula, have been settled completely and finally by the Claims Settlement and Economic Co-operation Agreement of 1965, which was concluded on the occasion of the normalization of the relationship between Japan and the ROK.

4. We will continue to promote the appeal of Japan’s assets including “The Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining” in cooperation with other relevant ministries and agencies so that people around the world will understand their values as world heritages.

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