DAVAO CITY—If Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had his way, Davao City may soon recapture its pre-World War II reputation as “Little Tokyo.”
Duterte said he would welcome even the entire population of earthquake-devastated areas in northeastern Japan if they wanted to come and temporarily settle here.
Duterte issued the statement on Tuesday as he announced that at least 20 elderly Japanese were due to arrive and temporarily live here while their villages were being rehabilitated.
Estimates of the total population of the Japanese areas ravaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were not available but relief officials at one point said the twin disaster left more than 450,000 Japanese homeless. Latest reports said 163,000 of them were still in evacuation shelters.
Davao is located on Mindenao, the large southern island of the Philippines, which has a relatively low population density.
Pre-WW2 Davao used to have a large Japanese community nicknamed "Little Tokyo".
Re-establishing this connection could also bring new economic impulses into the region.