A Liberal Democratic Party panel endorsed a package of bills Wednesday drafted by the infrastructure ministry that feature a provision to toughen the penalty for architects and builders who construct faulty buildings.

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry plans to revise the Building Standard Law so that a maximum fine of 3 million yen or a three-year prison term can be imposed on architects or builders who have made unsafe buildings. The current top penalty is a 500,000 yen fine.

The revision requires that prefectural governors appoint a third party to assess structural calculations for buildings above a certain height.

The revision also revises the architect law with a maximum fine of 1 million yen or a year in prison for architects who design buildings by fabricating structural calculations.

In addition, sellers will be obliged to explain or give written statements to customers on whether the seller or builder has an insurance policy to cover the cost of rebuilding or reinforcement should defects be found.

To raise the ethical standards of property sellers, the bills also revise the realty transaction business law by stiffening the maximum penalty to a 3 million yen fine or two years in prison for real estate agents who lie to clients or deliberately hide important facts about buildings before concluding contracts.

The bills follow November revelations of widespread fabricated quake-resistance calculations by architect Hidetsugu Aneha. Of 97 buildings linked to the scandal involving him and the builders, sellers and state-authorized screeners that used his designs as of last Friday, 11 would be damaged in a quake of upper 5 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale to 7.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.