Japan plans to publish a list of must-see sites of traditional farming

JIJI

The agriculture ministry plans to create a Japanese version of the world agricultural heritage list, informed sources said Thursday. The list would help to pass on farming culture and promote regional development.

Eight areas in Japan are registered on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s list of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, or GIAHS, which recognizes traditional farming systems and landscapes based on inherent natural resources that should be bequeathed to future generations.

The eight areas have used the status to promote their products with special branding and to try to lure tourists.

Launched in 2002, the FAO list currently names 36 areas in 16 countries. China possesses the greatest number, but Japan is in second place.

Agriculture minister Hiroshi Moriyama says his ministry aims to promote better public appreciation of the role agriculture plays in the nation’s heritage, particularly as Japan prepares for the activation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

He added, it is also responding to strong interest from foreign tourists in Japanese farming villages. It hopes the initiative will publicize them better and thereby draw more such visitors to the countryside.

To begin with, the ministry will certify areas to be registered on the Japanese list and will then choose areas seen as significant globally for recommendations to the FAO list, the sources said.