The City Connected to the World: Making the "Treasure of Nagasaki" the "Treasure of the World"
Mayor of Nagasaki City
December 10,1956 Born [Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture]
April 1980 Joined Nagasaki City government
April 2002 Assistant Manager, Tourism Promotion Section, Tourism
April 2004 Manager, Statistics Section, Planning Department
April 2007 Mayor of Nagasaki City (1st term)
April 2011 Mayor of Nagasaki City (2nd term)
April 2015 Mayor of Nagasaki City (3rd term)
Other Current Positions
Chairman, National Congress of Japan Nuclear Free Local Authorities (April 2007 - )
Deputy Chairman, Mayors for Peace (April 2007 - )
Chairman, Nagasaki Association of City Mayors (April 2009 - )
Councilor, Japan Association of City Mayors (June 2012 - )
-- What were your impressions when you first heard about the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution concept?
To be honest, I thought that registering a World Heritage site would be a huge undertaking.
There was the prior history of the “Association to Make Gunkanjima a World Heritage Site” launched by an NPO in March 2003. At that time, I was serving as the assistant manager of the Tourism Promotion Section of the Nagasaki City Tourism Department, and I participated in the “Gunkanjima Forum Summer 2003” which was held in Nomozaki Town in August 2003 as one member of a group focused on Gunkanjima as a tourism resource, where I met Ms. Koko Kato. She spoke about the desire to have the industrial heritage sites that built the foundations for Japan to become the economic superpower of Asia over just 50 years from the final years of the Tokugawa Shogunate through the Meiji period treated as World Heritage Sites, and I recall being overwhelmed by her great confidence and energy in moving forward. Of course, I was greatly inspired by this superb concept. Yet at that point in time I was uncertain whether such a grand idea could actually be realized.
-- How has the city of Nagasaki been involved in the activities for the World Heritage listing?
I was also surprised when I heard about the concept of serial nomination, grouping industrial heritage sites of Nagasaki including Gunkanjima, and seeking World Heritage listing together with industrial heritage sites in other prefectures. That is because I had always thought that World Heritage covered individual sites of symbolic significance, such as Kinkakuji Temple.
This was also a difficult struggle because there was no familiarity with this kind of serial listing in Japan. When, despite all this, the “Modern Industrial Heritage Sites in Kyushu and Yamaguchi” of the eight cities in six prefectures Hagi City, Kitakyushu City, Omuta City, Nagasaki City, Karatsu City, Arao City, Uki City and Kagoshima City (subsequently revised to the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” with the addition of Kamaishi City and Izunokuni City) were listed on the World Heritage tentative list in January 2009, I was deeply moved. This was the result of Ms. Kato’s responsiveness, dynamism and patience in facing the various problems of the local municipal governments and resolving these one by one while consulting with the national government.
I took office as the mayor of Nagasaki in April 2007 and launched a “World Heritage Promotion Office” the following year using the catchphrase “From the ‘Treasure of Nagasaki’ to the ‘Treasure of the World’.” The significance is that while the city of Nagasaki is unique and interesting, that character was nurtured through connections to the rest of the world. The World Heritage Promotion Office Web site introduced information about World Heritage and otherwise worked on World Heritage issues with city residents.
In October 2009, an expert committee announced the eight candidate component heritage sites in the Nagasaki area: Mitsubishi No. 3 Dry Dock, Mitsubishi Former Pattern Shop, Mitsubishi Giant Cantilever Crane, Mitsubishi Senshokaku Guest House, Kosuge Slip Dock, Takashima Coal Mine, Hashima Coal Mine, and Glover House and Office, and the path to achieving World Heritage listing finally began in earnest.
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Executive Director of Kogakuin University
Mayor of Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Representative Director, General Incorporated Foundation National Congress of Industrial Heritage (Advisor, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Capital Markets Research Institute）
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