Japan to set target for curbing rise in abandoned houses

JIJI

The government will work to keep the total number of abandoned houses and apartments in Japan at around 4 million or fewer by fiscal 2025 amid projections it could spiral to as much as 5 million.

The target is included in a new 10-year national housing plan drawn up by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and released Thursday. The plan will be presented at a meeting of the ministry’s Panel on Infrastructure Development on Friday ahead of Cabinet consideration in March.

To meet the 4 million target, the plan calls for putting some abandoned houses and apartments back on the market and removing others. It also proposes offering such houses and apartments to low-income earners and families with children.

In 2013, 3.18 million of the total of 8.2 million vacant houses in the country were unable to be put up for sale or rent and no longer usable, an internal affairs ministry’s survey found.

According to the new plan, the government will also promote the replacement of aging condominiums.

Replacement cases totaled about 250 out of an estimated 20,000 units between fiscal 1975 and fiscal 2014. The government aims to double this by fiscal 2025.

In addition, the plan calls for boosting the size of the existing home market from ¥4 trillion in fiscal 2013 to ¥8 trillion in fiscal 2025, and that of the refurbishment market from ¥7 trillion to ¥12 trillion.

The government will also work to have all houses meet the country’s earthquake standards by fiscal 2025. Substandard houses accounted for 18 percent of all houses in fiscal 2013.