Regarding the June 27 article “Hiraizumi gets listed as Heritage site“: It is glad news that the temples and landscape of Hiraizumi (Iwate Prefecture) have won UNESCO approval as a World Heritage cultural site. The news comes amid the aftereffects of the horrific March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Although Hiraizumi is not among the most devastated areas, it is part of Tohoku, so I hope this news will cheer victims.
After the massive quake, many Japanese civilians outside the disaster zone must have felt, as I did, that they could not do anything enjoyable until the Tohoku-Pacific region recovered. I realized, though, that thinking this way would contribute to economic stagnation. It is our duty to try to revive Japan’s economy. People who live far from the Tohoku and Kanto regions have almost returned to normal daily routines as their consciousness about possible hazards gradually wanes.
The Hiraizumi listing will draw the media spotlight and more visitors to Tohoku from foreign countries as well as other parts of Japan. Of the estimated 2 million tourists who visit Hiraizumi each year, 98 percent of them are day-trippers. They often sightsee for a few hours before leaving, as there are few hotels.
For five years, Hiraizumi was on the World Heritage candidate list. Iwate Prefecture must now be preparing for the changes that the UNESCO listing will bring about. A long-cherished desire has been fulfilled. I hope the governor, mayor and residents of the area make the best use of this opportunity to grow business, and that they play a leading role in reconstruction of the region.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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