National

Quake-hit Kumamoto Castle tower appears to defy gravity after collapsed stone foundation is removed

Kyodo

A tower of Kumamoto Castle, which was hit hard by powerful quakes in 2016, appeared to defy gravity on Tuesday as the local government showed off the progress made on its restoration work to the media.

With the top 6 meters of stone foundations supporting the tower having been removed in the work, the wooden tower now sits on reinforced concrete frames, making it appear to float in the air.

Now that the upper part of the foundation has been taken apart, the original entrance, the stone steps leading up to it, and the lower part of the stone structure are what remain below the tower building.

The building, with four floors above ground and one floor underground, was originally 20 meters high.

At the castle, a major tourist attraction in the city of Kumamoto, pillars and walls of the small tower were damaged and stone foundations partially crumbled following the massive quakes.

On Tuesday, workers brushed off soil and pebbles from the collapsed stone base, while others used a crane to remove crumbled stones. Dismantling work on the foundations will continue until the end of July, according to the Kumamoto Municipal Government.

The city will rebuild the stone foundations and the tower, replacing them with a lighter building. Scrapping work on the tower may begin by the end of March 2019.

The reconstruction work for the small tower as well as a larger tower at the castle, now covered with scaffolding, is due to finish around spring 2021.

The castle was originally built in 1607. Its towers were rebuilt in 1960.