Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.
We can’t leave it up to the Agency for Cultural Affairs
As I listened to her, it occurred to me that the government should create a new framework unrelated to the Agency for Cultural Affairs in order to get working properties registered as World Heritage sites. Official authorization for a separate framework was needed, I thought, if the working properties were to be conserved in a manner that would satisfy the companies that owned them. With this in mind, I introduced Ms. Koko Kato to Mr. Hiroshi Hayashida, who was at the time Director-General of the Ports and Harbours Bureau in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The Ports and Harbours Bureau has a thorough knowledge of the conservation status of working properties. I thought they might be able to apply their own criteria under the provisions of the Port and Harbor Act and other relevant regulations and directives. After much discussion among the three of us, we all agreed that it was probably impossible to have corporate-owned operating properties listed as World Heritage installations.
The next step was to decide who should be responsible for the proposed new framework. After considering several possibilities, we decided that the Ministry of Transport, Land and Infrastructure could not provide the framework that was needed. An appeal would have to be made to the Cabinet Secretariat and to this end, we approached Hiroto Izumi who at the time headed the Cabinet Secretariat’s Office for Promotion of Regional Revitalization. (He is currently Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.)
He listened to our request for support in getting the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution inscribed into UNESCO’s World Heritage List and arranged to have a section in his office dedicated solely to industrial heritage matters. Thanks to his strong support, we were able to accelerate the drive for World Heritage inscription. With a framework now established within the Cabinet Secretariat, we were able to move forward.
Competing with the Nagasaki churches
Just when we thought we were ready to go, we ran into another problem. Two sites in Nagasaki would be competing for World Heritage listing at the same time. UNESCO regulations dictate that in principle a state party may make only one World Heritage nomination per year. Now, however, the Japanese government had two administrative bodies handling World Heritage matters. The Agency for Cultural Affairs was planning to nominate the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region while the Cabinet Secretariat was promoting the nomination of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji industrial Revolution. A decision had to be made as to which project to nominate first. As it happened, both proposals involved Nagasaki. After deliberations in the prefectural assembly and city council, it was unanimously agreed to promote the nomination of the Nagasaki Christian churches first. In both the prefectural assembly and city council, it was noted that it was still unclear how operating properties should be conserved as World Heritage sites and that the project to promote the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution was not yet sufficiently ready to be nominated. In addition, people spoke up at the deliberations saying that they had spent many long years researching the history of the hidden Christians and this year would mark the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the hidden Christians. While there was strong local support for the Hidden Christian Sites, Ms. Koko Kato noted that South Korea opposed the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution and it was therefore imperative that the project be nominated before 2016 when Japan would be stepping down from its position as one of the members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Nagasaki is my hometown. For me, both projects were important. I waited to see what the government would decide to do.
On September 17, 2013, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the results of the efforts to coordinate the two different nominations, one from the Expert Committee in the Cabinet Secretariat and the other from the Cultural Properties Council. The government had decided to promote the nomination of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Kyushu, Yamaguchi and Related Areas. In his press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga explained that while both nominations had distinct value and it was difficult to determine which should be given priority, the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution reflected the history of craftsmanship that laid the foundations for Japan’s transformation into an industrial power and was therefore relevant not only to local communities, but to industry-related people throughout the country. Their expectations were further reinforced by strong support from overseas experts. Additionally, the Sites of Japan’s Meiji industrial Revolution include heritage sites in Kamaishi, one of the 2011 earthquake disaster-stricken areas, and their inscription as World Heritage sites will contribute significantly to the revival of the region. Finally, the inclusion of large-scale industrial installations still in operation provides a new model for cultural heritage conservation for the whole world.
Taking pride in Japan’s history of modernization
Not much about our country’s modern history is taught in Japanese schools. I think it is important to have concrete historical evidence that can be used to teach about the things that happened in Japan from the end of the Edo through the Meiji eras. The 23 components in the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution provide a clear picture of the flow of events in Japan’s development as an industrial country and I am hopeful these will provide good learning materials.
Finally, I believe talking about these World Heritage sites can be a useful way to garner understanding of the origins of Japan’s philosophy of craftsmanship. The stories of the strenuous efforts made by such companies as Mitsui and Mitsubishi will enhance global understanding of Japanese industry and are critical in conveying Japan’s unique characteristics.
Former Mayor of Omuta City
Archaeologist and Heritage Conservation Specialist
A fellow of the Japan Federation of Engineering Societies
Team Member of the Industrial Project Team Office for the Promotion of World Heritage Listing under Cabinet Secretariat
Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Mayor of Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture
The Former Employee of Nippon Steel Corporation
An Associate Professor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering in Iwate University
Chairman of the Tourist Guide Association of Misumi West Port
President of Kuraya Narusawa Co., Ltd.
Chairman of Izunokuni City Tourism Association
Director and General Manager of Gunkanjima Concierge
Producer of the Gunkanjima Digital Museum
Owner at Tōge Chaya
Chairman: Mr. Hidenori Date
President: Mr. Masahiro Date
Proprietor, Houraikan Inn
Representative Director of Egawa Bunko non-profit incorporated foundation
The 42nd head of the Egawa Family
Democratic Party for the People (DPP) Representative for Nagasaki Prefecture
President of the NPO, Way to World Heritage Gunkanjima
MI Consulting Group
President of Watanabe Production Group and Honorary Chair of Watanabe Productions Co., Ltd.
Member of the House of Councillors
World Heritage Consultant
Director and Dean, The Kyushu-Asia Institute of Leadership
Representative Director, SUMIDA, Inc.
Journalist, founder of the Shimomura Mitsuko Ikikata Juku School
Representative, Rally Nippon
Chairman, Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution World Heritage Route Promotion Council Director, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Representative Director, General Incorporated Foundation National Congress of Industrial Heritage (Advisor, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Capital Markets Research Institute）
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Policy Director at Heritage Montreal
World Heritage Consultant
Executive Director of Kogakuin University
Heritage Architect and International Consultant
Head of Data Acquisition at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation
Head of Industrial Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Scottish Ten Project Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Mayor of Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council of the Royal College of Art. Heritage advisor of Canal & River Trust for England and Wales.
Dean of Tokyo Rissho Junior College
Professor emeritus of Keio University
Mayor of Kitakyushu City
At the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee convened in Bonn, Germany, from June 28 to July 8, 2015, the decision was approved to inscribe the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution on the World Heritage list.
At a celebratory party held to mark the occasion, some of the primary promoters of the project spoke of their joy in achieving their goal and of the trials and tribulations to getting there.
Director and Managing Executive Officer, Hanshin Expressway Company Limited
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.
Mayor of Omuta City
Deputy Director-General, Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau, MEXT
Former Counsellor, Cabinet Secretariat
Mayor of Kamaishi City
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage Counselor, Shimadzu Limited
Chairman of the Consortium for the World Heritage Inscription of Modern Industrial Heritage (Kyushu-Yamaguchi) and governor of Kagoshima Prefecture (as of 2015)