1.         Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (Japan) (C 870)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1998

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/870/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/870/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/870/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

In July 2001, the World Heritage Centre received information concerning a plan to construct a major motorway called "Keinawa Motorway" in the vicinity of the Nara (Heijo) Palace site, one of the monuments listed as "The Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" World Heritage site. Following this information, the World Heritage Centre requested the Japanese Government for information, particularly with regard to the potential damage that could result from the construction of the road in the vicinity of archaeological deposits. The Japanese Government informed the Centre that the authorities had established a "Cultural Property Examination Committee" consisting of cultural heritage experts to examine this issue.

According to a report from the Government in October 2002, this Committee assessed the universal value of the property, and recommended that the Nara Palace site be protected from any potential negative impacts and routing of the motorway beneath the site should be avoided. The World Heritage Centre expressed appreciation to the Japanese authorities' effort and requested to be kept informed on the decision-making process and the final decision on the motorway. In March 2003, the World Heritage Centre received information from a Japanese NGO, representing 14 NGOs and numerous individual citizens, stating that in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport had established an Expert Committee in September 2002 to serve as a link between the Government and the general public on decisions regarding the routing of the Keinawa Motorway, this NGO claimed that communication was not transparent and that the general public had not had the opportunity to express comments on the routing of the motorway. Following this information, the World Heritage Centre requested further information on 17 April 2003 from the Japanese authorities concerning the decisions regarding the Keinawa Motorway construction, in relationship to the World Heritage property. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7B.49

The World Heritage Committee [31],

1. Having examined the state of conservation of the property for the first time since its inscription on the World Heritage List in 1998,;

2. Expressing its appreciation to the State Party for examining the potential negative and irreversible impact of the construction of the Keinawa Motorway could have upon the World Heritage value of the property,;

3. Encourages the State Party to continue making efforts to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the property;

4. Suggests that the concerned authorities continue their efforts in informing the local communities on the decision making process;

5. Requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2004, a report on the decision- making process and the final decision concerning the construction of the motorway in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004.

[31]  Decision adopted without discussion.