Japan joined UNESCO on July 12, 1951. It is covered by the UNESCO Office in Beijing, China. The country has taken an active role in the UNESCO Clubs movement; the first club was created in the city of Sendai in 1947.
UNESCO Director-General since 1999, Koďchiro Matsuura, a Japanese national, was reelected to a second term in October 2005.
Known as the “Japanese Garden,” the Peace Garden at UNESCO Headquarters designed by Isamu Noguchi (1904-1998) was a gift to the Organization from Japan.
Japan was a prime instigator in drafting the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Three artistic expressions from Japan have been proclaimed Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity: the Nôgaku Theatres (2001), the Ningyo Johruri Bunraku Puppet Theatre (2003) and the Kabuki Theatre (2005).
The International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), located in Tsukuba, was established in 2005 under the auspices of UNESCO.