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Davao City serious about offering a place for displaced Japanese, says envoy

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 03:22 AM June 01, 2011

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—This city is opening its doors to Japanese who would want to relocate to the Philippines temporarily, while their country recovers from the catastrophes that had hit it last March.

Manuel “Manolo” Lopez, the Philippines’ Ambassador to Japan, told reporters on Tuesday about the proposal of Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte for Japanese who would like to relocate here during the reconstruction of areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.

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“I learned about this a few weeks ago, but it was not (officially) offered to the Palace or to the Department of Foreign Affairs,” said Lopez on the sidelines of the Manila Electric Co. annual stockholders meeting on Tuesday.

“I talked to President Aquino about this (recently) because he was trying to come up with what we can offer to Japan and I told him that relocation was one area, as I know that there’s an offer by Mayor Duterte for those who would like to relocate temporarily in Davao City, especially since because there is already a Japanese community there,” Lopez explained.

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On March 11, a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami destroyed large parts of northeastern Japan and claimed the lives of thousands of Japanese. Thousands more are still missing. The twin disasters also damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing a nuclear crisis that has been abated but is still being monitored to this day. It also adversely affected critical production and manufacturing industries such as the automotive industry.

Lopez said he has not looked at the details of the plan to draw Japanese to Davao City, such as how big a land would be offered to the relocating Japanese and what kind of facilities were already in place.’

Although this would be a temporary set-up, Lopez did not discount the possibility of some Japanese opting to stay permanently.

Meanwhile, Lopez also reported that the Japanese investors remained bullish in the public-private partnership projects being offered by the Philippine government.

“I’m not familiar with what particular projects they are interested in but I do know that they are watching projects that the government will push for. A number of big Japanese investors have already gone to the Philippines,” he said.

“The business mood is starting to pick up again. For a while, they canceled all appointments. But I’ve started meeting with the Japanese companies already here in the Philippines, especially the locators in the ecozones,” Lopez added.

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TAGS: Ambassador Manuel “Manolo” Lopez, Benigno Aquino III, Davao City, Disasters, Earthquake, Immigration, Japanese, relocation, temporary residence
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