About 48 percent of 3,233 municipal governments, including Tokyo ward offices, lowered land and property value assessments this year, according to a report released Friday by the Home Affairs Ministry.

The values are reassessed every three years for the purpose of property taxes levied by the municipal government. The taxes are calculated by multiplying property values by a standard tax rate of 1.4 percent.

By prefecture, the municipalities of Kanagawa and Osaka made the biggest downward assessments. Chiba Prefecture came next with 96.3 percent of its municipalities lowering their assessments, followed by 96 percent of Shiga Prefecture municipalities, 91.3 percent in Saitama Prefecture and 89.1 percent in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Until the latest assessment, property values for tax purposes remained at relatively high levels despite steep falls in property values.

Although the Home Affairs Ministry said municipal governments assessed property values based on their own criteria, bigger reductions were made in large cities where land price falls became conspicuous after the collapse of the bubble economy.

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