Suga Pledges Full Support for Shuri Castle Restoration

Politics

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga visited fire-hit Shuri Castle in Naha, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, on Saturday, pledging the central government's all-out efforts for the reconstruction of one of the key landmarks in the southernmost Japan prefecture.

Suga inspected the burned-down "Seiden" main hall and other heavily damaged buildings at the UNESCO World Heritage site while receiving explanations from Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki. "We'll do all we can to restore the castle while working with Okinawa prefectural government and other local officials, and experts," Suga told reporters later.

The top government spokesman, who heads a ministerial forum for discussions on Shuri Castle restoration, also voiced the state's readiness to meet requests from Okinawa, including on tourism promotion.

By showing solidarity with Okinawa on Shuri Castle reconstruction, Suga apparently hopes to move forward with the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in the Okinawa city of Ginowan to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, another city in the prefecture.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to "work with responsibility" to rebuild the castle, which is part of a state-managed park in Okinawa. "I hope the reconstruction project will make the ties (between the state and Okinawa) amicable," a central government official said, signaling Tokyo's hopes that the project will help the Okinawa side soften its opposition to the base relocation within the prefecture.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press