Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kugel~commonswiki

Investigation into burned Shuri Castle closed with no conclusive results

By Eli Pang, SoraNews24

Designated as a UNESCO heritage site in 2000, Shuri Castle is a symbol of the many facets making up Okinawa’s complex history and culture. Serving as the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 1300s and appropriated by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII, the castle grounds are a testament to both the rich, diverse history of the island, and are a de-facto memorial to the trauma incurred by the Okinawan population in the mid-20th century.

Due to the castle’s unique status, the burning of Shuri Castle last Oct 31 invoked deep sorrow within locals. However, to the disappointment of those seeking an answer as to what may have caused the flames that razed down the main hall and two adjacent buildings, the Okinawan prefectural police have not only closed the investigation of the tragedy, but also concluded the investigation with no leads.

After three months of rigorous investigation, the Okinawan prefectural police reported that no evidence could be found in regard to the cause of the fire that devastated Shuri Castle and its vicinity. Local police initially ruled out arson, and the prefectural police confirmed that there were no possible perpetrators after carrying out a thorough examination on footage acquired from security cameras.

Local firefighters who responded to the scene have also conjectured that a short-circuited wire near the main hall’s northeastern side may have been the cause of the fire, but despite gathering what remained of the wiring at the site of the tragedy, prefectural police decided to close the case as it was “difficult to find a specific cause given the extensive damage done by the fire.”

Understandably, the investigation’s closure and its non-decisive results provoked reactions ranging from disbelief to outrage:

“They’re going to rebuild it despite not knowing what caused the fire? Isn’t that really risky?”

“Someone needs to resign.”

“The people investigating this should be investigated themselves.”

“Isn’t it just going to burn down again if there are no proper countermeasures in place?”

“Didn’t they originally say that there was a short-circuit that might have caused the fire?”

This is the fifth time Shuri Castle will be rebuilt, as the castle grounds have been damaged before in the years 1453, 1660, 1709, and in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa.

While the governor of Okinawa has ambitious plans to rebuild Shuri Castle by 2022—the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s transfer from U.S. occupation to the Japanese government—we can only hope that in the process of the castle’s re-construction more fire prevention measures are put in place to protect this cultural site treasured by many domestically and abroad.

Source: Okinawa Times via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- How to escape from a burning castle: evacuation drill reveals thrilling slide system

-- Okinawa’s captivating city halls will make you wonder what floor the final boss is lurking at

-- Prefectural capital building in Japan has a moat, ready for mobs of invaders or zombies

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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There is always a cause and a good arson investigator can always find it.

There is something odd about this situation.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I would surmise then that there was culpable negligence. If there isn't any conclusive evidence to prove otherwise, then logically speaking, right? Of course, out of politeness, no one in the press or otherwise would say this, but everyone in the mean time is donating money to get this fixed again without knowing what kind of preventive measures will be needed to prevent a recurrence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An unknown? Sounds odd given all the technology today.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The strange thing about this whole investigation is that assistance from the local American base law enforcement was offered with their arson investigators, but declined probably due to the anti-base sentiment of the governor. With this outcome why wouldn't they want all the help they could get on this case regardless of politics? Seems very strange, meanwhile people are donating their hard earned money based on emotions. A sad situation for everyone all around.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

While the governor of Okinawa has ambitious plans to rebuild Shuri Castle by 2022—

Even the Governor knows it's impossible! Parts of the castle will be impossible to replicate exactly anywhere in the near future. They do have the architectural designs, and do not have to build it from scratch like they did the first time, however they craftsmen that built the castle and many of the artisans that worked on the project are no longer living, and their unique expertise is lost.

Designated as a UNESCO heritage site in 2000,

The portion that burned down is not recognized as a UNESCO site, What little remained of the "remains" of the castle walls were designated as a world heritage site. If the castle itself would have bee a part of it, funding from the UN would be available for rebuilding. There is none!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"There is always a cause and a good arson investigator can always find it."

How do you know it was arson?

Better: do you even know what arson is?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Better: do you even know what arson is?

That's what I said to my wife when I found out he was gay.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think its a bit misleading to say the police haven't reached a conclusion. The police investigation wasn't looking into the cause of the fire per se, but rather whether a crime had been committed which caused the fire. They seem to have concluded that there is no evidence of a crime having been committed, which isn't the same as saying they have no idea how the fire started (which would have been the fire department, not the police). Wiring was the cause.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So it's a mystery, in 2020 with all the forensic tools available now, a mystery untill someone confesses it's a mystery.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Despite what people have seen on CSI and other TV and movies, fires are pretty hard to investigate especially one with so much damange, sometimes when a huge disaster happens, there are always people unwilling to accept that it could of just been a simple spark.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cricky........awesome comments.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The shrine was on its last days of its restoration, they were working on it , there were people preparing for an upcoming festival on the grounds - there were activities inside, outside the shrine before the fire. How can there be no possible lead on how the fire started?? Where are the insurance inspectors? or wait... don't tell me the building is not insured?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought a short circuit was the most likely culprit for the fire of Shuri Castle, but, since this line was determined inconclusive, they should investigate another possibility once again without simply ruling it out from the outset. And that is, of course, arson If it's arson, what was the motivation behind the crime?

There're some people in society who suffer from acute Sino-phobia whereby they are disgusted with the castle being influenced by Chinese culture too much: its coloring, geometry (fungshui) and, above all, annual cultural events in which kings to be kowtow to the Chinese royal emissaries to be officially nominated as kings.

This line must be investigated more vigorously now.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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