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Ruins of ancient culture could become World Heritage site

  • JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                The Isedotai ruins in Kita-Akita, Akita prefecture, one of the Jomon archaeological sites in Hokkaido and the northern Tohoku region.

    JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI

    The Isedotai ruins in Kita-Akita, Akita prefecture, one of the Jomon archaeological sites in Hokkaido and the northern Tohoku region.

TOKYO >> At long last, the Jomon archaeological sites in northern Japan, which provide evidence of the lifestyle and spiritual culture of the Jomon period (10,000-300 B.C.), are on the path to be registered as a World Heritage cultural site.

It has been more than 13 years since the prefectures of Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Akita proposed to Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency that the ruins in their areas be nominated for World Heritage status.

The ruins were discovered during excavations that began in 1992 for the construction of a baseball stadium.

“I was excited by the excavation’s findings, which showed the life of the ancient people and their advanced technology,” said Takumi Itchoda, a volunteer guide for Aomori’s Sannai-Maruyama archaeological site.

However, the efforts stalled when Japan’s central government declined to nominate the sites. It argued that since Jomon remains exist across the nation, there wasn’t a good reason to nominate only the locations in Hokkaido and northern Tohoku.

Yasuhiro Okada, an expert in registering World Heritage cultural sites for Aomori, was among a group who rewrote the recommendation more than 100 times. They stressed the value of the region, where a hunting and gathering culture continued for more than 10,000 years.

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