Tokyo considers nixing 90 percent of heritage site designations

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The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering rescinding official designations for about 90 percent of its 230 historical sites due to a lack of "historical substance," according to officials. The decision came as a shock, as many of the spots are notable tourist sights and attract many visitors.

Tokyo's cultural assets protection measures were first enforced in 1918, allowing the designation of historical assets. In 1955, the metropolitan government introduced the cultural assets protection ordinance. The previously designated sites were carried over under the new ordinance.

However, at the time--1955--the content of the designation, including the historical grounds for designation, had not been fully examined. The metropolitan government requested the panel, comprising archaeologists and historians, to review the designated sites prior to the 50th anniversary of the ordinance.

The panel suggesting the designations be phased out after determining that about 200 of the sites' selection had been based "entirely on folklore" or had "opaque historical substantiation."

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