March 2011 - Following the catastrophic earthquakes that hit the north-eastern region of Japan on 11 March, ICOM expresses its sorrow for the significant loss of life and its deepest concern for the country’s cultural heritage.
Although the extent of the damage is not yet confirmed, many villages containing cultural treasures and museums have suffered widespread destruction. In addition, the stricken nuclear power plants in the region continue to pose a significant threat.
ICOM encourages Japanese local authorities to pursue their efforts in protecting and safeguarding the invaluable cultural heritage of this country. Increased loss to Japanese cultural property would further impoverish the collective memory of mankind.
Our colleagues from ICOM Japan have informed ICOM of the significant efforts already made by the country’s museum professionals to gather and document the latest information on damaged cultural property and the loss of museum personnel. However, access to certain sites has been hampered due to a malfunctioning transport infrastructure.
ICOM reiterates its commitment to preserving and protecting the world’s invaluable cultural heritage by mobilising its resources: Disaster Relief Task Force, ICOM Japan and its committees on conservation.