MANILA, Philippines — It isn’t grand, it isn’t huge, it isn’t lavishly ornate. So why is President Rodrigo Duterte awestruck by the Japan emperor’s residence?
The chief executive explained that it was its simplicity that made him admire the royal residence near the Tokyo railway station where Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, and other members of the royal family live.
“You know what, I have been to many places and palaces of great leaders and people. This is the first time na nakita ko pinaka-simpleng palasyo,” Duterte told reporters last Tuesday, Oct. 31, after his visit to Japan.
The President said the residence, surrounded by trees, “is just a small place.” He also observed that there was nothing imposing in its receiving room.
“Wala kang makitang [You don’t see any] picture. It’s really a bland thing actually,” Duterte said.
The royal couple are also simple and gentle in their ways, according to Duterte, who met the Emperor and the Empress during his Oct. 29-31 official visit to the East Asia country.
“(H)e lives very simply. The King (Akihito) is very (soft-)spoken, lalo na ‘yong si Her Majesty Michiko,” said the chief executive.
Though the Tokyo Imperial Palace is a vast 284-acre compound, the emperor and the empress’ green-roofed residence within the complex has a total floor area of only 4,940 square meters or just 1 percent of the gross floor area of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, which is 406,962 square meters.
The park-like complex, surrounded by moats or deep and wide ditches and sprawling gardens and shrouded by lush forests, is home to about 6,000 species of plants and animals.
WATCH RTVM’S VIDEO OF PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE AND HIS PARTNER, CIELITO “HONEYLET” AVANCEÑA’S MEETING WITH EMPEROR AKIHITO AND EMPRESS MICHIKO: