Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government plans to advance reconstruction efforts for fire-hit Shuri Castle by establishing a council of experts who were involved in the restoration of the castle in 1992.
The plan was unveiled at the second meeting of a related ministerial forum by its head, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, on Monday.
The planned panel, to be established at the Cabinet Office’s Okinawa General Bureau, will start discussions early on technical aspects of the reconstruction of the UNESCO World Heritage site in Naha, the capital of the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa, according to the top government spokesman. Experts from the Okinawa prefectural government will also be involved in the talks.
The fire occurred in the small hours of Oct. 31, heavily damaging seven buildings, including the “Seiden” main hall, at Shuri Castle, a symbol of Okinawa. The castle was previously rebuilt in 1992, from scratch, as part of a state-managed park. The original castle was burned to the ground in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.
“It is important to accurately reproduce Shuri Castle based on the thought process from the previous restoration,” Suga said, adding that the expert council will swiftly draw up basic plans for rebuilding the castle.
Monday’s ministerial meeting, held at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, was also attended by Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, who reported measures taken by the prefecture, such as the establishment of a team focused on reconstruction strategies for the fire-struck castle.
“I would like to have Okinawa people’s opinions reflected” in discussions by the planned expert panel, he said.
Tamaki later told the press that the Okinawa and national governments agreed to closely cooperate to put full efforts into rebuilding Shuri Castle.