Press Releases

New inscriptions on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register
(Statement by Foreign Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura)

October 10, 2015

1. Today10th (Local time 9th), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced new inscriptions on the Memory of the World Register. The “Toji Hyakugo Monjo,” which was submitted for inclusion by the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, and the “Return to Maizuru Port,” which was submitted by Maizuru City, Kyoto, were inscribed. The Government of Japan, along with relevant parties, welcomes and salutes this decision, which is gratifying.

2. At the same time, it was announced that documents relating to the “Nanjing Incident” that were submitted by relevant organizations in the People’s Republic of China were also inscribed. It is clear that Japan and the People’s Republic of China have different points of view regarding the issue related to the submitted documents in question, as has even been demonstrated in Japan-China Joint History Research, for example. Nevertheless, the submitted documents were based on the People’s Republic of China’s unilateral assertions, and the Government of Japan believes that there are obvious problems with the documents’ integrity and authenticity. It is extremely regrettable that documents such as these have been inscribed on the Memory of the World Register despite continuous protests that were progressively lodged by the Government of Japan regarding its fundamental position, and such decisions pose a problem for UNESCO, as an international organization, which should be neutral and impartial.

3. The Memory of the World Register Programme is a UNESCO programme in which documents and other materials that satisfy the relevant criteria are inscribed, with the goal of protecting and ensuring access to documentary heritage. Japan, as a responsible UNESCO member state, intends to request that the system for this important UNESCO programme be appropriately reformed so that the programme is not utilized for overtly political purposes.

[Reference ] Japan’s submissions

(1) The Toji Hyakugo Monjo
A collection of approximately 25,000 temple documents that were continuously preserved in the treasury of the temple Toji for more than 1,000 years since the Heian period. The collection is valuable in terms of researching the history of Japanese Buddhism, the history of Buddhist temples, and the history of Buddhist temple systems. The documents have been managed and preserved since 1685 (the second year of the Joukyou Era), when they were donated in 100 document storage boxes by the fifth feudal lord of the Kaga Domain, Maeda Tsunanori.

(2) Return to Maizuru Port
– Documents Related to the Internment and Repatriation Experiences of Japanese (1945-1956)
Consisting of 570 documents relating to “records of internment experiences in Siberia,” “documents on Japanese families hoping for the repatriation of relatives whose safety they are anxious about,” and “documents concerning returnees.”

(3) the People’s Republic of China’s nomination
Documents said to be related to the “Nanjing Incident” that were jointly submitted by Public Archives and other organizations throughout the People’s Republic of China. Consisting of photographs, diaries, trial transcripts and other materials.

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