Oki Islands to be added to UNESCO geoparks list

The UNESCO Global Geoparks Network announced Monday it will add Shimane Prefecture's Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan to its geoparks list.

The announcement by the body under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization came at an international conference on South Korea's Cheju Island.

The island group becomes Japan's sixth geopark -- nature parks particularly important in terms of geological features -- following Lake Toya and Mt. Usu in Hokkaido, the Itoi River in Niigata Prefecture, the Sanin Coast in Kyoto, Hyogo and Tottori prefectures, Muroto in Kochi Prefecture and the Shimabara Peninsula in Nagasaki Prefecture.

The island group includes more than 180 islets, featuring geological structures that indicate geological developments since the Ice Age, as well as an ecological system that has achieved a unique evolution.