UNESCO advisory gives Sado gold mines 2nd-highest evaluation for Heritage status

A UNESCO advisory body has compiled a recommendation that gave a group of gold and silver mines in northeastern Japan the second-highest rating for the World Heritage status, requesting additional information.

Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency says the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, notified the Japanese government of the recommendation on Thursday.

The government in 2022 recommended to UNESCO that a group of gold and silver mines on Sado Island in the Sea of Japan be registered as a World Cultural Heritage site. The island in Niigata Prefecture boasted the world's largest output of gold in the 17th century.

The second-highest rating on the four-stage scale, "referral," asks for submitting additional information on the property for further evaluation. But there have been cases in recent years in which properties given the "referral" rating had won the World Heritage status in the year when the rating was given.

The Japanese government says it aims to gain the listing of the mines at a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting to be held in India in July.

When Japan was considering submitting its bid, South Korea expressed opposition, saying people from the Korean Peninsula were forced to work there.

Japan has been expressing its stance to continue its earnest dialogue with South Korea.

The latest recommendation by ICOMOS requests Japan to draw up explanations of the history of the mines throughout their operation, along with exhibition plans, and to set up exhibition facilities.

The Cultural Affairs Agency says it will work with relevant ministries, agencies, Sado City, and Niigata Prefecture to discuss ways to show the complete history of the mines.