Fire engulfs Japan's Shuri Castle, a World Heritage Site in Okinawa

TOKYO: A fire broke out at Shuri Castle, a World Heritage Site on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, early on Thursday, completely destroying the main hall and other structures as firefighters continued to battle raging flames, media reported.

Television footage showed the multi-structure castle reduced to a skeleton, shrouded in flames and smoke hours after emergency responders received the first call about the fire, around 2:47 am (1747 GMT), public broadcaster NHK said.

Shuri, built more than 500 years ago as the royal castle of the Ryukyu Kingdom, has been destroyed and rebuilt after many fires - most recently in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.