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Footage shows at least one of the buildings on the complex completely stripped by the fire and glowing hot embers the only thing left of the 600 year old site

Enormous fire engulfs Japan's 600-year-old Shuri castle amid fears that the entire UNESCO World Heritage site could be lost

  • The flames engulfed the Shuri castle in Naha, the capital of the Okinawa prefecture
  • Firefighters were called at 2.40 pm (Wednesday 2.40 pm GMT) for sightings of smoke, but are still tackling the erupting flames
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A large fire has broken out on a Japanese castle that dates from the 14th century.

Shuri Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site in Naha, the capital of the Okinawa prefecture, in southern Japan, was on fire at 2.40 pm on Thursday morning (Wednesday GMT) at 2.40 pm.

Footage shows at least one of the buildings on the complex completely stripped by the fire and glowing hot embers the only thing left of the 600-year-old site.

Footage shows at least one of the buildings on the complex completely stripped by the fire and glowing hot embers the only thing left of the 600 year old site

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Footage shows at least one of the buildings on the complex completely stripped by the fire and glowing hot embers the only thing left of the 600 year old site

A large fire has broken out on a Japanese castle that dates from the 14th century

A large fire has broken out on a Japanese castle that dates from the 14th century

A large fire has broken out on a Japanese castle that dates from the 14th century

Fire brigade was called to tackle the fire on Thursday at 02.40 a.m. local time, but they have not yet been able to keep it under control

Fire brigade was called to tackle the fire on Thursday at 02.40 a.m. local time, but they have not yet been able to keep it under control

Fire brigade was called to tackle the fire on Thursday at 02.40 a.m. local time, but they have not yet been able to keep it under control

Firefighters were called to report smoke from the castle, but two hours later flames still burst through the buildings.

The fire broke out in the central hall of the castle, according to local broadcaster NHK.

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Although today it was only a district of Naha, Shuri was the political and administrative center of the Ryuku kingdom for nearly 400 years.

The castle has often been destroyed and rebuilt since it was first built in the 1300s, particularly during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

The Japanese army had set up the base camp beneath the hilltop fort and the Allies shot it three days before setting fire to it.

It was almost completely destroyed during the bombing.

The castle is divided into five different buildings with the Seiden most lavishly decorated. It was used for centuries to welcome foreign guests and hold major state ceremonies.

The Japanese army had set up the base camp below the hilltop fort during the Second World War and the Allies fired at it three days before it went up in flames
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The Japanese army had set up the base camp below the hilltop fort during the Second World War and the Allies fired at it three days before it went up in flames

The Japanese army had set up the base camp below the hilltop fort during the Second World War and the Allies fired at it three days before it went up in flames

The castle is divided into five different buildings with the Seiden (photo) the most richly decorated

The castle is divided into five different buildings with the Seiden (photo) the most richly decorated

The castle is divided into five different buildings with the Seiden (photo) the most richly decorated

The castle is part of a UNESCO world heritage site with eight other locations in Okinawa

The castle is part of a UNESCO world heritage site with eight other locations in Okinawa

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The castle is part of a UNESCO world heritage site with eight other locations in Okinawa

. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news (t) Japan