NAKHARA (Journal of Environmental Design and Planning)

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In term of architectural and town conservation, Japan unlike other developed nation has developed its own specific system. "Denken system" or "Preserved district system" is directly translated as "Important District for Preservation of a Group of Traditional Buildings". In this respect law was first enacted by the Agency for cultural affair in 1975, with an aim to conserve groups of traditional buildings and not only any specific single buildings. From then until 2010, 86 areas in the whole country have been announced as the "preserved districts". The process for designation of a preserved district starts with a fundamental study, a feasibility study, and study for a preservation plan, by the local government body, in collaboration with board of education, local people and academic experts. At this level, selected areas will be announced as a "District for Preservation of a Group of Traditional Buildings". After the approval by the minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, it will be announced as an "Important district for Preservation of a Group of Traditional Buildings" or preserved district. Thus local government and people in the selected area can receive the financial support from the central government; such as a support for a restoration project, a support for the acquisition of buildings, a support for fire prevention, a support for the installation of an information board, and tax reduction.

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