NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Donations to Okinawa Prefecture and its capital Naha to help rebuild Shuri Castle surpassed ¥1.2 billion about a month after fire ravaged the UNESCO World Heritage site.
How to use the financial contributions has yet to be decided, however, as the central government plans to take the initiative in rebuilding the historic structure, which stood in Naha.
The Okinawa Prefectural Government has set up an office under the direct supervision of Gov. Denny Tamaki to discuss how to make use of the funds. Tamaki has said his government plans to hold discussions with the state.
On Nov. 1, the day after the fire, the Naha Municipal Government started accepting donations on Furusato Choice, a portal site for the furusato nozei, or hometown donation system. As of Saturday, the amount of donations there had surpassed ¥800 million. Combined with the donations to the prefectural government, the total stood at about ¥1.203 billion.
Junior and senior high school students on school excursions have visited the prefectural government office almost every day to provide donations.
On Friday, students from Honjo-Daiichi High School in Saitama Prefecture came to the office to hand in donations. “We hope it (the money) will help the reconstruction, if only slightly,” said Hana Sato, 17.
Tamaki hopes to draw up a reconstruction plan for Shuri Castle in May 2022, the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese control after World War II.
He has also set up a reconstruction strategy team to compile a road map for the reconstruction of the castle.
On how the donations should be used, Tamaki has only said his government will make it clear while discussing role-sharing with the central government.
Tamaki plans to attend a central government ministerial meeting on Shuri Castle slated for Monday.