Tokyo, Nov. 6 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday pledged the government’s all-out efforts to rebuild fire-hit Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.
At an inaugural meeting of a related ministerial task force, held at the prime minister’s office, Abe said, “The government will work at full throttle with responsibility in restoring Shuri Castle as swiftly as possible, including securing necessary financial resources, while consulting with the Okinawa prefectural government and local communities.”
The task force, headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, comprises seven ministers, including Okinawa affairs minister Seiichi Eto and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba.
Stressing the need for the government to unite in the restoration work, Abe instructed the ministers to implement measures that meet local needs, such as tourism promotion.
Among challenges cited by participants in the meeting are installing fire protection measures, and securing lumber and craftsmen, Suga said at a press conference. “I hope all ministries and agencies concerned will join forces to work out specific measures quickly.”
The fire, which occurred last Thursday, destroyed the wooden “Seiden” main hall and other key buildings at the castle in Naha, Okinawa’s capital.
As Shuri Castle is located in a park managed by the central government, the Abe administration hopes to lead the reconstruction work, with the possibility of earmarking necessary funds under a planned fiscal 2019 supplementary budget in mind.