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International relations

Japan's Sado gold mine faces uphill climb to World Heritage list

Tokyo says South Korea's opposition not a factor, but cannot ignore it

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in disagree over whether a gold mine in Japan should be on UNESCO's World Heritage list. (Source photos by Karina Nooka and Reuters) 

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is in the final stages of deciding whether to recommend the historic site of a former gold mine on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture as a candidate for UNESCO's World Heritage list.

While conservative lawmakers in Japan are pressing the government to nominate the site, a rule that Japan itself asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to introduce several years ago could turn out to be the biggest obstacle.

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