Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture was recommended to be registered on the list of the World Heritage by ICOMOS on April 26th.(http://www.tomioka-silk.jp/hp/en/index.html)
The silk mill was founded by the Japanese government in 1872 as the very first modern factory to produce silk in order to enhance Japanese economy. Actually, silk production became a leading industry and the igniter to the modernization of Japan. This time, ICOMOS assessed this facility so highly with the evaluation of “Inscription” which is the highest grade of four ranks(others are 2:referral, 3:Deferral, and 4:Decision no to inscribe) . All other Japanese candidates that had received “Inscription” in the past were registered afterwards, so, registration is quite probable and some say the mill will be registered in this June.
ICOMOS says, “Tomioka Silk Mill and its related facilities were the key to Japan’s having become a modern industrial society. ” Silk was one of the primary exports of Japan for a long time and the mill was in operation untill 1987 (for 115 years). The mill is now a museum and about 200 people visit there a day on average, but just after the recommendation of ICOMOS, the number of visitors suddenly doubled. Whole of Gunma can be highly expected to be re-developped as an interesting destination of tourists and draw attention of them and businesses.