TOKYO: An international advisory panel has recommended the registration of Amami Oshima and other southwestern islands in Japan to the UNESCO World Heritage list of natural assets, the Japanese Environment Ministry said Monday.
The recommendation was made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a UNESCO advisory body, the ministry said.
The Japanese government had proposed the World Heritage designation for Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, the northern part of Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, and Iriomotejima, an island in Okinawa.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is expected to formalize the registration at an online meeting from July 16 to July 31.
Many rare species of animals, such as the Amami rabbit and the Okinawa rail, inhabit the southwestern Japan islands.
In February 2017, the Japanese government recommended the islands for the World Heritage listing. It had initially aimed to have them listed in summer 2018. In May 2018, however, the IUCN proposed the registration be postponed. The government withdrew its recommendation and proposed the islands again in February 2019.