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The Philippine Embassy in Roppongi
The Receiving Lobby
Statue of Jose Rizal
The Light Court
The 3,190.21 sq.m. Roppongi Property was acquired by the Philippine government on 27 June 1958 through the 1956 Reparations Agreement between the Philippines and Japan. It was the site of the chancery of the Philippine Embassy until 1976 when the chancery was transferred to the vacated Philippine Reparations building in Nanpeidai, Shibuya-ku. Thereafter, the property was totally abandoned in 1997 for difficulty in maintenance and the building grounds were left to the elements leading to its condemnation by the government as uninhabitable and unsafe.
The original structure built during the Taisho period (1923) was a highly acclaimed architectural piece in the genre of the renaissance. It was a three-story villa with an astronomical observatory tower and surrounded by a Japanese garden of tall trees laced with imported boulders/stones. The owner, Ryoji Oda and his wife Ineko lived in the property for 33 years until it was sold to the Japanese government in payment of tax arrears. Ownership would, thereafter, be transferred to the Philippine government.
In 1985, the Marcos government attempted to develop the property but this was abandoned with the advent of the People Power (revolt) revolution in 1986. The new government of Mrs. Aquino inherited an economy in shambles and a bankrupt treasury. The government tried selling the property in 1989 during the height of the real estate boom in Japan but ended in a failure of bid. Later in 1990 during the second bidding to sell the property, the Supreme Court would rule that the property could not be disposed of without the concurrence of Congress.
Prevented from selling the property, the Ramos government, however, succeeded in developing the property.
In 1992, President Fidel V. Ramos issued Administrative Order No. 8 creating a committee on Disposition of Real Properties of the Republic of the Philippines Located Abroad.
On 26 April 1994, the House of Representatives under the Speakership of Jose de Venecia adopted Resolution No. 73 urging the President and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to develop properties in Japan. Together with the recommendation of the then Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. (in his first term as Ambassador) the Properties Committee in July 1994 approved the development of the Roppongi Property into a mixed diplomatic and residential use, and to fastrack the project created a Technical Working Group.
The working group later became the Prequalification, Evaluation and Awards Committee (PEAC) which selected the consultant of the Project namely, Nihon Sekkei, Inc. with Filipinas Dravo Corporation. It was reconstituted as the Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC).
The PBAC on 4 March 1996 recommended to the Properties Committee the selected developer of the project, namely, MIS Consortium composed of Mitsui Fudosan Co, Ltd., Itochu Corporation and Shimizu Corporation.
On 18 April 1997, Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco signed the Leasehold and Development Contract with the MIS Consortium and on 14 June 1997 President Fidel V. Ramos approved the contract and thus started the construction of the building. On their way to the APEC Leaders Meeting in Vancouver, President and Mrs. Ramos made a stopover in Tokyo on 19 November 1997 to lead the groundbreaking ceremony (Shinto style) of the Roppongi development.
The Roppongi project utilized a unique model of development whereby there was no cash out on the part of the Philippine government while retaining full ownership and title to the land and the floor area of the chancery. The project was completed in five years and three months. The new Philippine Embassy chancery comprises a total floor area of 2,412.7 sqm.