Electrical System Glitch Suspected as Cause for Shuri Castle Fire

Society Culture

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Nov. 7 (Jiji Press)--The fire department of Naha increasingly suspects that an electrical system glitch caused the fire that severely damaged Shuri Castle in the capital of the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa a week ago.

The municipal fire department and the Okinawa prefectural police department continue their investigation of the incident. While authorities are gradually figuring out the extent of damage from the fire, the reconstruction of the celebrated castle is nowhere in sight.

The fire burned down seven buildings at Shuri Castle, including the "Seiden" main hall, which were rebuilt in 1992 at the total cost of some 7.3 billion yen, and some 400 stored items including art works.

The fire broke out in the small hours of Oct. 31. A security staff member rushed to the scene following an alarm, opened the shutter of the northern side of Seiden, went up stairs and found smoke filling the building.

The security official came back to the scene after calling for help and found smoke emitting from a window on the northeastern side of the first floor of Seiden, where there was a switchboard. By that time, the fire went out of control. The fire and police departments believe that the fire occurred on the northern side of Seiden.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press