Mayor of Nagasaki City
-- What were your honest impressions about the inclusion of “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard Related Assets,” which are assets still in operation, among the World Heritage candidates?
I thought that this is a very big issue. There are not many cases of industrial heritage sites with assets that are still in operation in World Heritage listings, so I thought this would be a difficult challenge.
To begin with, no one wanted to interfere with the development of basic industries. However, if the site were to become protected and managed as a World Heritage Site under the Act for Protection of Cultural Properties, it might become impossible to continue with corporate economic activities. In other words, the issue was how to balance a World Heritage listing with economic activities.
The great strength here came from the presence of Ms. Kato, who worked persistently to convince Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Of course, it would not have been possible without the generosity of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which gave their understanding and acceptance, so both were essential to clear the hurdles. I think we were was able to advance because both sides shared the fundamental approach of working with a forward-looking stance.
There were also pleasant developments resulting from the operational asset being listed as a World Heritage Site. The giant cantilever crane, which is one of the assets inside the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard, was built in Scotland, the homeland of Thomas Glover, and it is still operating today more than 100 years since it was installed; Scotland selected Nagasaki for its 2019 Rugby World Cup camp, leading to ties in a new field. The World Heritage listing demonstrated that Nagasaki City was wonderful in the past and wonderful today, and led to the hope that it will be wonderful in the future, and reminded us once again about the joys of a World Heritage listing.
-- If there were any particularly impressive episodes in the path to the World Heritage listing, would you please tell us about them.
At the World Heritage Promotion Office, we were always taking action with two different projects in mind. In fact, from before the project to list industrial heritage sites as World Heritage Sites, preparations were being advanced for the World Heritage listing of churches and heritage related to Christianity in Nagasaki (presently, “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”). The churches had already achieved tentative listing, and there was a growing basis of support among the local residents. Since the proposal for World Heritage listing of the industrial heritage sites came at that time, there was confusion and some criticism among the citizens and related parties. The prefecture and the city initially took the position of giving priority to the churches, but in 2013 the decision was reached to nominate the industrial heritage sites.
For Nagasaki City, that was good news itself, so it was a troubling situation, but this was settled as those involved with the churches switched to taking a long-term view toward the World Heritage listing. They kindly said that “compared with the 250 years in which Christians had to hide their faith, delaying the World Heritage listing by two or three years is not a big issue,” and I really admired them. The decision was made to first achieving listing of industrial heritage sites as World Heritage Sites and to push for the later listing of the churches; this decision made it possible to go forward.
-- What sort of feelings did you have toward the 2015 World Heritage Committee in Bonn, and how did you feel when the listing was decided?
When the listing was determined, of course, I felt so happy I could jump. I was overwhelmed with emotions to share our joy with those working for other local government bodies, the experts who gave advice, and everyone who had worked together toward this goal. And, to tell the truth, I also felt relieved to deliver this good news to the citizens of Nagasaki. That was because the screening, which was originally scheduled for July 3 local time, was postponed to July 4, and postponed once more to July 5.
The news that Japan and South Korea had reached agreement came just before I departed for Bonn, so I left with the image of a quick decision. But at the very moment I arrived at the meeting hall in Bonn, I was called by the examiner in charge of the screening, who explained, “You may all be very optimistic, but the adjustments between Japan and South Korea regarding the statement by the South Korean side are running into some problems. The conditions are difficult, and I don’t know if the World Heritage listing will be approved.” So, I began earnest lobbying activities together with Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura.
Meanwhile, in Nagasaki, public streaming of the decision was arranged as it unfolded in Germany. A large number of residents assembled at the Glover Garden, even though it was late at night. We were perplexed because we did not know when the decision would be made. I spoke to them over Skype, saying “Everyone, I am sorry, a decision was not reached today. Please gather again tomorrow.” And again, the next day, I had to tell them, “I am sorry, but a decision was not reached today either. I think this really will be decided tomorrow, so please continue your support.” Then, on the final day, the World Heritage listing was finally decided. I had to deal with a press conference and various procedures, and was unable to convey the message, “Everyone, the World Heritage listing has been approved!” That was most regretful. In the end, it was a good memory, but I will never forget those turbulent days I spent in Bonn.
Chairman, Fujisankei Group
Executive Managing Advisor, Fuji Television Network, Inc.
Executive Managing Advisor, Fuji Media Holdings, Inc.
Advisor, Federation of Japan Port and Airport Construction Association
(Ex. Chairman of Specialists Center of Port and Airport Engineering)
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Former Director of the Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum (currently known as Sano Tsunetami and the Mietsu Naval Dock History Museum)
Director of NPO Association for Thinking about Satoyama
Director of National Congress of the Industrial Heritage
Honorary Chief Priest Toshinari Ueda
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)