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Japan’s Mt Fuji to get World Heritage stamp, say officials

Tokyo, May 2 (): Japan’s cultural agency said the country’s snow-topped near-symmetrical Mount Fuji will likely be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites next month after an influential advisory panel to the UN cultural body made a recommendation.

A statement from the agency for cultural affairs said the consultative body to UNESCO, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) told the Japanese government that the almost perfectly conical Fuji is appropriate for registering as a World Heritage site.

Japan’s tallest mountain, Fuji is an active volcano that last erupted around 300 years ago and home to five major lakes, Shiraito Falls and eight Shinto shrines. It lies just south west of Tokyo and the mountain is visible from the metropolis on clear days. The sacred volcano with its attractive portions and proximity to Tokyo is one of most instantly recognised sights of Japan.

The 12,460 ft (3,776 metres) high Mt Fuji is recorded to be the highest mountain of Japan and is a symbol of Japanese art, spiritual worship and geographical orientation. Mt Fuji is mainly a “cultural” heritage site, rather than a “natural” heritage site.

Mt. Fuji is expected to be formally listed in June when the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO meets in Cambodia, said an official at the foreign ministry.

Recognition for the mountain is the result of a 20-year campaign by locals in Shizuoka and Yamanashi regions to make the inclusion of volcano on the list of sites alongside the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China.

After the recommendation, the mayor of Fujinomiya City, Hidetada Sudo expressed hope the expected listing would be a boost to tourism. He said that he expected many people would visit the place and that would be a huge step for the development of the city.

Other World Heritage cultural sites include the pyramid fields in Egypt, the temples at Angkor in Cambodia, the Sydney Opera House and the Great Wall of China. Mt. Fuji would be Japan’s 13th cultural World Heritage site.

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