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Japan’s land ministry to hike private sector subsidies in compact city drive

JIJI

The land ministry is set to ramp up promotion of its compact city initiative aimed at revitalizing local municipalities and hike subsidies for the private sector, informed sources revealed Saturday.

The drive calls for medical, welfare, commercial, educational and cultural facilities to be consolidated as the heart of municipalities so residents can move from one to the next on foot or by public transport, without having to use their cars. It also urges the construction of multifunctional centers on idle land or in vacant buildings in local cities’ central districts.

Specifically, the ministry plans to increase subsidies to private companies engaged in the development of these compact city facilities under its local revitalization program, so as to reduce their share of the costs to one-fifth from one-third at present, according to the sources. The central and local governments currently shoulder the remaining two-thirds of the expenditure.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry plans to seek some ¥10 billion in the supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 that the Cabinet is expected to approve this week, the sources said.

The higher subsidies would not be made available to government-designated major cities in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka metropolitan areas, as well as the 23 wards of the capital, they said.

The ministry will additionally support moves to create new communities around suburban train stations or bus routes by cutting the costs to one-fifth for companies constructing commercial facilities and hospitals in these areas, the sources added.