On Friday, 27 August 2004, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) President Katsuji Ebisawa held a public signing ceremony at NHK Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan to seal their new partnership agreement. Through the Heritage Images Archives Initiative, NHK is offering to contribute to the documenting and safeguarding of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and of natural heritage, in order to ensure transmission of knowledge between generations and promote cultural diversity.
In the first joint project under the partnership, NHK will produce digital, high definition short TV documentaries on heritage. In the long term, these documentaries are expected to cover all World Heritage sites, as well as all cultural expressions and spaces protected by the International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (see Flash Info 246). To ensure the scientific accuracy of the project, NHK will establish an advisory committee chaired by UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador Professor Ikuo Hirayama and including renowned Japanese heritage specialists as well as a UNESCO representative. The series will be used by NHK for various broadcasting and other audiovisual operations. Considered at the same time a public asset, their digital format makes them a precious initial contribution to the Heritage Images Archives Initiative.
This promotional, educational and scientific partnership between NHK and UNESCO, as well as other partners that are expected to join the Initiative, will build on state-of-the-art digital visual and sound processing technologies for the production of quality 3-D moving images and reconstruction images related to heritage. Furthermore, a data-base system will allow such images to be utilized for various projects, such as DVD and other audio-visual package operations, public exhibitions, new types of exhibition using virtual reality systems, and production of quality replicas for exhibition and academic uses.
Commenting on the partnership, the NHK President underlined the company's active contribution, promoting its digital Hi-Vision technology, to increasing people's awareness of the value of world heritage. He pledged NHK's every effort to cover all the cultural expressions and spaces in future in close cooperation with UNESCO.
The Director-General of UNESCO welcomed this new joint initiative in the light of the importance of ensuring knowledge transmission to future generations. He emphasized the necessity of further promoting the safeguarding of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, hoping that the new initiative would make an important contribution to that end.