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The government decided Thursday to nominate the holy grounds and pilgrimage path in the Kii Mountains that run through parts of Mie, Nara and Wakayama prefectures for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, government officials said.

The government will submit a recommendation to the World Heritage Center by the Feb. 1 deadline, they said.

The proposed site comprises holy grounds of three religions — Shinto, Buddhism and Shugendo — and the pilgrimage path that links them.

The Cultural Affairs Agency said earlier that it nominated the sites because the holy grounds are precious and still revered as religious centers, and the path is rare as it has both natural forest and cultural sights.

The World Heritage Committee will decide whether to add the site to its list at a meeting to be held around June 2004.

The World Heritage Convention was adopted in 1972 with the aim of protecting and preserving precious natural and cultural sites.

The World Heritage List had 730 registered sites as of June, of which 11 are in Japan, including the A-Bomb Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

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