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Kii sacred sites and roads favored for World Heritage

The Agency for Cultural Affairs plans to recommend that Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range and the Cultural Landscapes that Surround Them be registered on UNESCO's World Heritage list. It is expected to take such a step jointly with the Environment Ministry, which has the jurisdiction over the preservation of such sites in Japan. The Wakayama, Nara and Mie prefectural governments approved at a recent meeting of the cultural asset subcommittee of the cultural deliberation council that the sites be registered with the heritage list.
The Kii mountain range forms three major sacred places, namely 'Yoshino-Omine,''Kumano-sanzan (three mountains)'and 'Mt. Koya.'Those three sacred sites are connected by pilgrimage routes such as 'Kumano Sankeimichi'(or 'Kumano Kodo'). The routes together with the 'cultural landscape' generated from the nature surrounding the shrines and temples that boast long histories are the cultural heritage unparalleled in the world.
The cultural agency will present a letter of recommendation to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Feb. 1, next year. Subsequently, after the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will assess the recommendation, the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee will decide around June 2004 on whether to inscribe them on the heritage list.