The average price of land on main streets in Japan stood at 121,000 yen per sq. meter as of Jan. 1, down 6.2 percent, or 8,000 yen, from 12 months earlier, the National Tax Agency said Friday.

This marks an 11th straight year of decline, the agency said.

The margin of decline shrank slightly from the previous year’s 6.5 percent, the agency said.

The main street land price, calculated on the basis of appraised land values as of Jan. 1 released annually by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, will be used by tax authorities to assess inheritance, gift and property taxes for 2003.

The agency came up with the national average figure after calculating the prices of land along major streets in some 410,000 areas around the country, including residential, business and industrial zones.

Despite the overall decline, property prices continued to rise in prime locations in big cities, particularly in Tokyo, where there have been large redevelopment projects accompanied by a flurry of construction and popular shops selling foreign brand-name products.

But price falls picked up pace in 32 prefectures. This slide was triggered by the collapse of the bubble economy in the early 1990s and has continued during the prolonged recession.

A plot of land in front of the stationery store Kyukyodo in Tokyo’s Ginza district is still the most expensive in the country for the 18th straight year, at 12.72 million yen per sq. meter, rising for the third straight year.

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