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Country Summary for JAPAN

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (“MEXT”) promotes the designation of cultural properties as National Treasures, Important Cultural Properties, Important Intangible Cultural Properties, Important Tangible/Intangible Folk Cultural Properties, Historic Sites, Place of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monuments in accordance with LPCP in order to protect Japan’s valuable cultural properties. MEXT has also put into place various preservation, restoration and disaster prevention measures for these cultural properties and is involved in excavation and research on buried cultural properties as well as the public purchase and maintenance of historical sites.

'Cultural Property'domestic cultural property and property which a foreign government that is a State Party to the [UNESCO] Convention …has designated in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention.

'Domestic Cultural Property'property which is among items belonging to the categories that are enumerated in Art. 1(a)-(k) of the Convention and has been designated as important cultural properties in accordance with the provisions of [LPCP Art. 27, para. 1 ] as important tangible folk-cultural property in accordance with the provisions of [LPCP Art. 56-10, para. 1], or as historic sites, places of scenic beauty, or natural monuments in accordance with the provisions of [LPCP Art. 69, para. 1]. (EICP Art. 2)

'Tangible Cultural Properties'buildings, pictures, sculptures, applied arts, calligraphic works, classical books, ancient documents, and other tangible cultural products, which possess a high historical and/or artistic value in and for this country (including lands and other objects which are combined with them altogether to embody such value), archaeological specimens and other historical materials of high scientific value. (LPCP Art.2(1))

'Monuments'shell mounds, ancient tombs, sites of palaces, sites of forts or castles, monumental dwelling houses, and other sites, which possess a high historical and/or scientific value in and for this country; gardens, bridges, gorges, sea-shores, mountains, and other places of scenic beauty, which possess a high value from the point of view of art or visual appreciation in and for this country; and animals (including their habitats, breeding places and summer and winter resorts), plants (including their habitats), and geological features and minerals (including the grounds where peculiar natural phenomena are seen), which possess a high scientific value in and for this country. (LPCP Art. 2(4))


Among tangible cultural properties other than important cultural properties (excluding those designated by local public bodies under the provisions of Art. 98-2) which are buildings, the Minister of Education can, in view of the value of those cultural properties, register those which are in particular need of preservation and utilization measures in the Cultural Property Original Register. (LPCP Art. 56-2)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Agency for Cultural Affairs
2-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8959
Ph: (03) 5253-4111