Furthermore, the UNESCO'S main page on this site in Japanese (along with an NHK article and the Wiki entry in Japanese) all state that the WHS covers "the ruins" of the castle and not the reconstructed buildings, which means what burned down is not part of this WHS.
a. The English Wiki site repeats "In 2000, along with other gusuku and related sites, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, only the castle relics such as stone walls and old piles before 1950 are officially designated as the World Heritage.
" But that could of course simply have been copied from the Japanese entry already cited by Tsunami. Unfortunately no source reference is quoted
b. The Nomination File is remarkably opaque about the issue of "Authenticity" despite having a long section on the subject. Nowhere does it clearly state that the reconstructed buildings ARE part of the Nomination – but neither does it say that they are not!! Unfortunately Appendix "4a. Inventory of the monuments and sites included in the nominated property
" is not present!! This would appear to be an important paragraph - "In this way the authenticity of the setting has been preserved on a high level while promotion of the property through full-scale replicas of architectural structures or rebuilt structures is pursued with a high degree of accuracy and precision in relation to the authenticity of the setting
." I.e what has been preserved is the Authenticity of "Setting
" whilst the authenticity of "Design and Material
" and authenticity of "Workmanship
" in relation to original stonework etc are dealt with separately on the basis of original remains
c. In Dec 2017 ICOMOS ran a symposium which included the presentation of a paper titled "ICOA853: SIGNIFICANCE OF RECONSTRUCTED BUILT-HERITAGE AFTER WARTIME DESTRUCTION: RESTITUTION OF IDENTITY?
" which is concentrated on the issues surrounding the reconstruction of Shuri-jo. I have extracted the following quotes
i. "In March 1972, the 'Shuri Castle Remains' was designated as a 'Historic Site' within the Japanese national inventory system under the current Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties (in force from 1950). According to the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan, what is protected for the category of 'Historic Site' is basically the land surface, which may also include archaeology.
" (My bold to emphasise the limited aspects which are fully legally protected)
ii. "Under the reconstructed state hall, archaeology of underground remains, such as foundations, are strictly protected
" (my bold - seems to imply that the hall, constructed above, is NOT so protected??)
iii. "Shuri Castle REMAINS was inscribed on the World Heritage List in December 2000 as part of a serial nomination composed of 9 sites and monuments, named the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu
" (my Capitals and bold to emphasise the potential importance of this word. i.e ONLY the "remains" and not the new reconstructions??)!
See - http://openarchive.icomos.org/2003/1/30._ICOA_853_Okahashi_SM.pdf
None of this unambiguously answers the question as to whether the reconstructed Hall etc were inscribed as part of the WHS or not. There does however seem to be evidence that the original "remains" were and are protected to a higher degree than the reconstructed elements situated on top of them and that the restored/replica aspects are indeed NOT a part of the inscribed site.