UNESCO urges Japan to remove facilities near heritage site in Nara

UNESCO urges removal of car parking lot and fences near a World Heritage site in the ancient capital of Nara

Published on 25 July 2011

Author(s): The Mainichi Daily News

Type:  News Originally published 2 July 2011

UNESCO has urged Japan to remove a car parking lot and fences near a World Heritage site in the ancient capital of Nara, saying they could damage cultural properties buried under the ground, Japanese officials said Friday.

The officials of the Agency for Cultural Affairs said the facilities near the ruins of Heijokyu palace would not have any unfavorable effects on remains underground but it will discuss with local authorities how to deal with the request by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

The committee, which has the authority to designate heritage sites, has recently adopted a resolution that says such facilities might damage cultural properties buried near the site.

The Nara prefectural government built the auto park and the wooden fences, whose total length is about 800 meters, as part of last year's events to mark the 1,300th anniversary of the relocation of Japan's capital to Heijokyo, or Nara, in 710.

The cultural affairs agency said the auto park will be removed within five years under the current plan. The bars will also be taken away after work to partially reconstruct remains nearby has been conducted, it said.

The Heijokyu palace is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara that were added to the World Heritage List in 1998 by the committee of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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