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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Fire decimates Japanese world heritage site - Sheri Castle

Japan's Shuri Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site, has been decimated by a huge fire.

Footage on local television showed the cultural heritage symbol engulfed in flames as firefighters battled for hours.

The fire started in the castle's main structure on Thursday morning and forced nearby residents to evacuate to safer areas.
Okinawa police said the main Seiden temple and a Hokuden structure had burned down, while a third structure was nearly destroyed.
Nobody was injured in the blaze.
The cause of the fire is not immediately known.
"It's really Okinawa's cultural heritage. It's painful," one resident said.
The historic castle, situated on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, was a symbol of the Ryukyu Kingdom that existed from 1429 until the island was annexed by Japan in 1879.
It also came to symbolise the devastating effect of the Second World War on Okinawa.
The Battle of Okinawa, which lasted 82 days, killed more than 200,000 people - many of them civilians on the island.
Shuri Castle was the headquarters of the imperial Japanese army and was bombarded by US shelling.
It burned down during the battle in 1945 but was restored in 1992 as a national park, becoming designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said: "I understand Shuri Castle, a world heritage site, is an extremely important symbol of Okinawa.
"I feel my heart ache and extend my heartfelt sympathy to the people of Okinawa."
The castle had been scheduled to be included as a stop on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay route.

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