Housing deregulation is critical for Japan to stimulate its stagnant domestic demand, Kent Calder, special adviser to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, said Wednesday.Speaking at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Calder pointed to the need to improve transparency, performance-based standards and the product approval process in the housing industry.Housing deregulation is included in a list of proposals Washington will make “very soon,” he said. “The housing area could be an area for significant deregulation that potentially could stimulate demand in Japan.”Active participation by foreign firms in the housing market, Calder said, will also help achieve three objectives that U.S. President Bill Clinton mentioned recently — stimulating, deregulating and opening the Japanese economy.Although housing starts are already high in Japan, there is much room for renovations, such as those to make structures more earthquake-proof, he said, adding that proper incentives for remodeling could bring about large-scale investment. He stressed the “win-win” approach to deregulation, which would benefit foreigners as well as Japanese firms and people.

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