Tokyo: A Japanese government panel approved a plan to ask UNESCO to register the country's highest peak, Mt Fuji, and the ancient city of Kamakura, southwest of Tokyo, as World Heritage cultural sites in 2013, government officials said.

The government will formally file with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization a letter of recommendation by February 1, 2012 for registration of the two sites, the officials said on Thursday.

UNESCO experts will make on-the-spot inspections of Mt Fuji and the city of Kamakura in the summer of 2012 before its World Heritage Committee decides whether to register the two sites in the summer of 2013, the officials said.

A panel of the Council for Cultural Affairs, an advisory body to the culture minister, made the endorsement on Thursday.

The governments of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, which Mt Fuji straddles, say the Mt Fuji site is composed of 25 "asset components" including five major lakes at the foot of it and that it is the mountain that symbolizes Japan.

Kamakura, some 50 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, features many historic temples and Shinto shrines. Kamakura, now in Kanagawa Prefecture, was Japan's capital from the 12th to 14th centuries.

Japan previously attempted to register Mt Fuji on the World Heritage list, but gave up the plan in 2003 due to its serious garbage problem.