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12th in a series

Staff writer

Legislators in both the ruling and opposition camps lack the vision and speed needed to formulate policies to prop up the stagnant economy, and a greater sense of urgency is needed by them to get the country back on its feet, according to senior real estate executives.

The two leaders of the All Japan Real Estate Political Federation, which carries out the political activities of the All Japan Real Estate Association, expressed concern over the apparent lack of knowledge politicians have about the economic situation, especially at the grassroots level.

“The real estate business is in a very bad state, greatly due to the 2-percentage point hike in the consumption tax from April last year, and the stringent lending policies of banks are further hurting many firms,” federation Chairman Kenzo Yoshioka said.

Indeed, tough times are expected to continue for the nation’s realtors, many of whom basked in tremendous growth during the bubble economy years of asset inflation.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has begun to take steps to encourage greater liquidity in the real estate and asset market, including drafting legislation to pave the way for “servicers” — private firms specializing in loan collection.

While Yoshioka and the association’s secretary general, Sohei Tadami, said they support such initiatives as necessary to resuscitate the financial system, they also expressed concern about whether real estate agents would be able to take part in the effort.

Smaller realtors especially fear the effects such moves might have on their business, the two said, adding that they too would like to be able to handle debt collection-related services.

Shoring up the banking sector is also important for the real estate business, which is feeling the effects of banks’ increased cautiousness regarding lending. “Our association has seen its members decreasing, mainly smaller firms, because they cannot secure sufficient operating funds, and they go out of business,” Yoshioka said, also blaming the situation on bad policymaking.

“All details aside, we are first and foremost concerned about what steps will be taken to boost the economy. And I must say that lawmakers, regardless of party, were ignorant of the situation for too long — we had already been calling for stimulus steps as far back as a few years ago,” Tadami said.

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