Government To Discuss Restoration Of Shuri Castle

Government to discuss restoration of Shuri Castle

The Japanese government is to start full-fledged discussions to restore Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture.

The main structures at the historical site in Naha City were destroyed in a massive fire last Thursday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday told relevant ministers to set up a team to rebuild the castle and obtain the necessary financial resources.

The Cabinet Office says restoring the castle's main hall and other structures in 1992 cost around 7.3 billion yen, which would be worth some 67 million dollars today. But it notes that prices have changed since then, and the method of construction has yet to be decided, so it cannot give an estimate of the cost for the upcoming restoration.

The government also faces the challenge of securing necessary timber.

Cypress grown in Taiwan was used to build the main hall. A ban is presently in place to lumber these trees.

Finding craftsmen with the required skills is also likely to be an uphill struggle.

The government will take into account the wishes of Okinawa Prefecture, which plans to draw up a reconstruction plan for the castle by 2022. That's when the prefecture marks the 50th anniversary of Okinawa's return to Japanese rule.

The government plans to set up a panel of senior officials from relevant ministries and agencies to study how to restore the castle.

Meanwhile, donations are pouring in to help rebuild the landmark.

Some 27,000 people have donated a total of 370 million yen, or about 3.3 million dollars, as of late Wednesday in a crowdfunding campaign set up by Naha City.

The sum by far exceeded the city's initial fundraising goal of 100 million yen, or about 920,000 dollars.