NAHA, Okinawa Pref.: Donations to Okinawa Prefecture and the prefectural capital of Naha to help the reconstruction of Shuri Castle surpassed 1.2 billion yen about one 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 of rebuilding the historic structure.
The southern Japan prefectural government has set up an office under the direct supervision of Governor Denny Tamaki to discuss how to make use of the support funds. Tamaki has said his government plans to hold discussions with the state.
On Nov. 1, the day after the fire, the city government of Naha, where the castle is located, started accepting donations on Furusato Choice, a portal site for Japan's "furusato nozei" hometown donation system.
As of noon on Saturday, the amount of donations rose over 800 million yen. Combined with public support accepted by the prefectural government, the total sum stood at about 1,203 million yen.
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, north of Tokyo, came to the office to hand in donations. "We hope it (the money) will help the reconstruction if only slightly," said Hana Sato, 17, one of the students.
Tamaki hopes to draw up a reconstruction plan for Shuri Castle in May 2022, the 50th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japanese administration from U.S. 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 ministerial meeting of the central government on the reconstruction of Shuri Castle slated for Monday.