Japan's forestry minister has pledged full support for efforts to rebuild Shuri Castle, whose main structures burned down in late October.
Taku Eto inspected the site in the southwestern prefecture of Okinawa on Saturday.
After the visit, he said the smell of charred objects renewed his resolve to work hard for restoration of the castle.
The minister said a restoration initiative should gain cooperation from across the country and proceed in a manner that will satisfy the people of Okinawa.
Eto said his ministry will do everything it can, such as securing supplies of timber and lacquer needed for the rebuilding project.
A basic plan for the reconstruction program was approved at a meeting of relevant ministers on Wednesday.
The plan calls on the government to procure the necessary materials. It also says the restoration project will proceed in line with plans drawn up for the previous reconstruction of the main buildings.
Shuri Castle was built some 500 years ago but was destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa toward the end of World War Two in 1945. The main hall and other buildings were reconstructed decades later.
The ruins of the original castle were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. But the restored buildings were not included.