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Tomioka Silk Mill added to UNESCO Heritage list

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided to include a 19th century Japanese silk mill on its World Heritage list.

The decision was made at a meeting of the committee in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday.

The panel endorsed the recommendation by an advisory body that the Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture, near Tokyo, be a new heritage site.

The mill was built in 1872 and became Japan's first state-run silk factory.

The heritage site consists of 4 buildings including a brick factory and houses that became the prototype for farmers who began to manufacture silk.
The committee says the Tomioka compound shows how the introduction of French yarn-making technology helped Japan to manufacture high-quality silk products on a large scale. The committee also cited the establishment of the mill and other structures as key to Japan's modernization.

With the committee's approval, there are now 18 sites in Japan that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. They include 14 cultural heritage sites.

Jun. 21, 2014 - Updated 13:05 UTC