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3 yrs after quake, Kumamoto castle prepares for partial reopening

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kumamoto Castle’s Dai-Tenshu tower, right, which had its exterior restored, and Sho-Tenshu tower, which still requires construction work on its stone wall, are seen Friday in Chuo Ward, Kumamoto.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Sunday marks the third anniversary of the Kumamoto earthquake foreshock, which registered 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.

The number of people living in temporary housing and private housing leased by local governments has fallen by more than 20,000 from the previous year. However, 16,519 were still living in such facilities as of the end of March, with reconstruction of their homes a remaining task.

The foreshock occurred the night of April 14, 2016, and was followed by the main earthquake in the early hours of April 16. It was the first time that tremors measuring 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale had been recorded twice as part of the same seismic sequence.

The earthquakes killed 273 people in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures, including those who died as a result of quake-related causes and secondary disasters.

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  • Yomiuri Shimbun file photo

    The main castle tower and damage to its stone wall are seen in June 2016 after the Kumamoto Earthquake.

Kumamoto Castle in Chuo Ward, Kumamoto, was also heavily damaged in the 2016 quake. Reconstruction work on the castle has been underway, with an aim of completing the project by the end of fiscal 2038.

Though visitors are not yet allowed onto the castle premises, they will be able to approach Dai-Tenshu tower — the main castle tower — via a makeshift passage used for construction once its facade is repaired this autumn. The special passageway will be open in principle on Sundays and national holidays from October.

The Kumamoto city government views the castle as a symbol of recovery for quake-hit areas.Speech

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