Yoshihide Suga does not want to live in the official Prime Minister’s residence in Japan. In fact, several Japanese Heads of State have refused to live there. Known as sori kotei, the residence looks beautiful from the outside, so why has it sat vacant for several years?
Located in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district, the 5,183-square-meter building was built back in 1929 and was initially used as the Prime Minister’s office before turning into their official residence although only seven leaders have lived there throughout the years.
Suga’s decision to remain in his apartment has raised questions among several people, such as former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (from 2011 to 2012) who asked, “What would happen if there was an earthquake directly beneath Tokyo?” “The traffic would probably be impassable. It would take more than 20 minutes. But to walk from the Prime Minister’s Residence to the Office would take zero minutes.”
While there could be many reasons as to why nobody wants to live there, it is rumored to be quite haunted which would be a good enough reason to avoid the property.
It does have a very dark and bloody history. Eleven naval officers were involved in an attempted military coup when then-Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai was shot and killed in 1932 (known as the May 15 Incident). Then in 1936, there was another attempted military coup when five men – including the brother-in-law of then-Prime Minister Keisuke Okada – were shot and killed (this was called the February 26 Incident).
As for the paranormal activity, Hiromi Murakami, who is a political science professor at Temple University Tokyo, stated that he has heard stories of the residence being haunted but the fact that it is so huge is probably the main reason. “…I have also heard that the residence is not a very ‘comfortable’ place to be in. Japanese people are used to small and compact homes, so to suddenly be asked to move into a huge place like that would feel quite strange. That is probably a more likely reason than the reports of ghosts.”
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lived in the residence during his first term from 2006 to 2007, but when he was elected again in 2012, he refused to move back in which makes you wonder what is going on there.
As a matter of fact, an inquiry was submitted during his time as PM by an opposition MP asking if Abe wasn’t moving into the residence because he was afraid of ghosts. The inquiry read in part, “There are rumors that the official residence is haunted by ghosts related to the Feb. 26 Incident and other affairs. Are they true?” The government responded saying that they were “not aware” of the ghost stories and claimed that Abe didn’t want to live in the residence because it was too big.
During a television interview, Abe stated that the ghostly rumors were nothing more than “urban folklore” but said that he “heard that former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori saw part of a ghost.” However, during a dinner at the residence with executives from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), he was heard saying, “Why don’t we live here together? I am frightened,” and, “I do not feel like living here because there are ghosts.”
Several people have reported seeing apparitions of military men near the garden. Even former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata’s wife, Yasuko Hata, heard the story as the told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, “I was told that there are many people clad in military uniform in the garden.”
Perhaps a paranormal team should go in and investigate the residence and then we’ll all know whether or not the place is haunted.
More pictures of the residence can be seen here.