In the name of ICOMOS, President Gustavo Araoz conveyed a message to ICOMOS Japan, expressing condolences for the many deaths and solidarity at this dark hour for their country.
Despite the exemplary preparedness and calm of the Japanese people, such a massive disaster is too much to bear for any country alone. ICOMOS stands ready to support its Japanese colleagues in every way it can.
ICOMOS Japan has already met to discuss plans for the recovery and future assistance for the north of the country. ICOMOS, through its Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICORP) and the Blue Shield will participate in the coordination network set up by UNESCO.
According to Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, on 15 March 125 nationally designated monuments and sites are known to have been damaged by the earthquake. However, these figures do not yet take into account the municipalities heavily damaged by the tsunami and the heritage toll risks being higher.
At present, the World Heritage sites of Shrines and Temples of Nikko, Shiretoko and Shirakami-Sanchi, all located in the region struck by the disaster, are reported as not having incurred damage. The sites Hiraizumi and Ogasawara Islands, both included on Japan's Tentative List for possible inscription on the World Heritage List, were also unharmed in the events.