A UNESCO advisory panel has recommended the registration of Amami Oshima and other southwestern islands in Japan as natural assets on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Covering a total of 42,698 hectares, the areas recommended for the World Heritage designation include Amami Oshima and the island of Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, northern parts of the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, an island prefecture, and Iriomote Island in Okinawa. About 100 animal species on the IUCN’s Red List, including the Amami rabbit and the Okinawa rail, inhabit the southwestern Japan islands.
In February 2017, the Japanese government recommended the islands to UNESCO, aiming for their World Heritage listing in summer 2018. But the IUCN proposed in May 2018 the deferral of the registration. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is expected to formalize the registration at its online meeting on 16-31 July 2021.
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