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Japan Upgrades Davao Delegation into a Consulate General

) Mark Mayo Magallanes |

Davao's growth as a modern city from a sleepy Spanish town in southern Mindanao has its roots from Japanese settlements in the city as far as 1903. These Japanese roots continue to shape Davao as the economic center of Mindanao and traces of it could be seen in Japanese cemeteries of Mintal, the Japanese schools Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku and Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School, and the Japanese Consular Office, located in Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, Davao City.

And the ties are growing stronger as the Embassy of Japan in Manila announced the upgrade of its Davao delegation into a full-fledged consulate-general, the first one outside of the capital. 

Consular office vs. consulate-general
Under the Vienna Convention, consular offices or consular agencies (as the US call theirs) are not full diplomatic offices but a local agency of the embassy tasked with assisting its citizens resident or visiting the city they are located. As such, a consular office may not accept or may only act as receiving office for visa applications from local residents, refer temporary or new passport applications for its citizens to the nearest consulate or embassy, and have limited consular functions.

With the upgrade of the Japanese Consular Office into a Consulate-General, the Davao delegation may now extend a full suite of diplomatic services not only to its citizens but also non-citizens wishing to visit and invest in Japan. In the same way, they may now be able to facilitate Japanese businesses and investors that wish to invest and establish businesses in Davao City, which includes manufacturing, agro-industries, technological services, and real estate investments.

Japanese interest in Davao properties
Renewed interest in Davao's Japanese roots and the recent push of the President for more infrastructure in his home turf via the Build, Build, Build initiative has attracted the Japanese to once again consider Davao as an investment hub. The proposed Mindanao railway for example has received unsolicited bids from Japanese companies, including a light rail line to traverse the whole length of the city, even as the government initially planned to build it through Chinese loans. 

Investment opportunities opened wider with the visit of the Prime Minister of Japan to the city just last year, with the Davao City Investment and Promotions Center reporting Japanese interest in the city at an all-time high. This is supplemented by national developers stepping in to build their first  high-end development portfolios in Mindanao, notably Azuela Cove, an AyalaLand Premier-Alcantara Group join partnership, with Megaworld and Anchor Land following suit.

Tapping the PropertyAccess advantage
Michael Needham, General Manager of PropertyAccess Philippines, who also has roots in Toril, Davao City, identified the city as one of the key hotspots for real estate investment. He said that the city's ready access to both modern amenities and natural attractions, along with the projected increase in internet speeds through the direct fiber optic link facility from Talomo District to Los Angeles, California spearheaded by Globe, will make Davao a city of the future and a must-invest destination.

Through PropertyAccess' exclusive network of 200,000 Japanese investors and countless others in Southeast Asia, developers and local real estate brokers alike will find a ready access to the property market in Japan and other countries worldwide. The Japan International Property Awards and the International Real Estate and Investment Conference this November in Tokyo will highlight the advantages of investing in Southeast Asia and in exploring new real estate frontiers such as Davao. 

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