This study attempts to clarify how international discussions related UNESCO Global Geoparks were
reflected in the geopark program in Japan by examining movements and discussions of international
and regional organizations which took roles for the establishment of geopark initiatives, focusing up to
2015 when UNESCO officially launched the program. The process up to the establishment of
UNESCO Global Geopark was divided into four stages including “geopark random activity period”
which various international organizations committed its own “geopark activities”, and followed to
“geopark integration period” which those activities integrated as one geopark program under
UNESCO and all of them happened in less than 20 years.
In Japan, geologists started domestic geopark program influenced by the international geopark
movements. The time when they started and expanded geopark activities in Japan happened parallel
to the “geopark random activity period” in international society. As a result, the geopark system in
Japan resulted in emphasizing geological features compared to UNESCO Global Geoparks in terms
of its evaluation and management even though Japan Geopark Committee take efforts to aim for
the holistic geopark implementation in accordance with UNESCO Global Geoparks policy. This
conclusion suggests aregional confusion due the fact that geopark as an international program
changed its framework within a short period.
Ikuno Fujii World Heritage Studies & World Cultural Heritage Studies, Doctoral course of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba city, Japan.
Hiromu Ito Faculty of Art and Design, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba City, Japan.