• Kyodo

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Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe said on Friday that he would like to build a Japanese-style guest palace in Tokyo before the 2020 Olympic Games.

“I want to build a Tokyo guest palace soon,” Masuzoe said following a visit to the Kyoto State Guest House, which was built in traditional Japanese style with a hip-and-gable roof. “It was brilliantly built with Japanese tradition,” he said.

In Tokyo, the Government Guesthouse, a neo-baroque-style Western building also called the Akasaka Palace, has been used both as a venue for meetings and to accommodate state guests. But Masuzoe said it is important to have a traditional Japanese palace in the capital for foreign dignitaries, describing the guesthouse as an “imitation of the Palace of Versailles” in France.

Some academic experts called on Masuzoe to consider the cost effectiveness of the idea and questioned how often such a lavish facility would be used.

The Government Guesthouse, which was originally built as the Crown Prince’s Palace in 1909, has received guests 299 times since 1974, when it started being used for such purposes. That means it receives guests less than 10 times a year, on average.

Masuzoe, however, said that state guests should continue to be treated at the Government Guesthouse or the Kyoto State Guest House, adding that any facility built by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government could play a different role.

“It would be a useful facility for a global city such as Tokyo. It amazes me that we have not had such a facility to date,” he said.