National

Japan to nominate ancient tombs in Osaka for World Heritage list

Kyodo

The government on Friday decided to nominate ancient tumulus clusters in Osaka Prefecture as a UNESCO World Heritage site candidate for 2019.

The government will submit a letter of recommendation to UNESCO by Feb. 1, with an eye on the Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, one of the largest ancient tombs in Japan, being registered in the spring of 2019.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a UNESCO advisory panel, will inspect the site in September this year to decide whether to recommend the tumulus clusters for final consideration by the World Heritage Committee.

The burial grounds stretch from the Mozu area, currently the city of Sakai, to the Furuichi area, now the cities of Habikino and Fujiidera. They are considered a representative example of ancient Japanese construction techniques and culture.

Among 89 existing tumuli in southern Osaka Prefecture, 49 well-preserved tombs built between the late 4th century and late 5th century will comprise the recommended clusters.

The clusters include Daisen Kofun, or the burial mound of Emperor Nintoku, one of the three largest tombs in the world along with the tomb of Qin Shi Huang in China, and the pyramid of King Khufu in Egypt, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Daisen Kofun is about 486 meters long and its front section is roughly 307 meters wide.

Local authorities first proposed the tumulus clusters as candidates to the Agency for Cultural Affairs in September 2007. They were picked for nomination by a government panel last July.

World Heritage site screenings are held every year and the World Heritage Committee is set to review natural and cultural candidate sites this year in Bahrain from June 24 to July 4.

The Japanese candidate sites for this year include Christian sites in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures and a natural site comprising Amami-Oshima and the Tokunoshima islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, the northern part of the island of Okinawa, and Iriomote Island, also Okinawa Prefecture.