UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova has said Japan's iconic Mt. Fuji is "a bearer" of cultural and intangible heritage for its influence on tradition, expressing pleasure that the mountain is almost certain to become a World Heritage site.
"We are all happy about this recommendation" by the advisory panel to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Bokova said in a recent interview with Kyodo News during her visit to the Afghan capital Kabul.
The 60-year-old director general also said the mountain is "a bearer both of messages of cultural heritage but also of intangible heritage because I know it is a part of Japanese identity."
The UNESCO advisory panel, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, known as ICOMOS, has recommended the listing of the 3,776-meter mountain as a world cultural heritage site as it is a national symbol of Japan and blends religious and artistic traditions.
To the disappointment of local people, ICOMOS did not accept Tokyo's request to add cultural assets in the ancient city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, as the World Heritage list, citing scarce assets linked to the medieval shogunate.
Recalling her visit to the area before assuming the post of director general, Bokova praised its beauty but said that very strict standards need to be met for registration as a World Heritage site.
Located southwest of Tokyo, Kamakura has the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the Enkaku Temple and the Great Buddha. It was the seat of a samurai government from the late 12th to 14th centuries that nurtured cultural practices such as the tea ceremony and Zen rituals.