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The average price of land along selected key thoroughfares nationwide rose for the first time in 14 years, standing at 114,000 yen per sq. meter as of Jan. 1, up 0.9 percent, or 1,000 yen, over a year earlier, the National Tax Agency said Tuesday.

The average land price rose in Tokyo and Chiba, Aichi, Kyoto and Osaka prefectures, the agency said. Last year, Tokyo was the only area where the price climbed.

In addition, the margin of price falls narrowed in 33 prefectures, up from last year’s 29.

The agency assesses land value at 410,000 locations across Japan to use the resulting “roadside land price” to calculate inheritance and gift taxes for each year.

By region, the average land price turned upward in the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya while the average margin of price declines in other regions slowed for the second year in a row.

Land in front of stationery store Kyukyodo in Tokyo’s Ginza district continued to be the most expensive real estate for the 21st straight year, rising 3.6 million yen per sq. meter to 18.72 million yen.

A lot in front of Nagoya Station, where redevelopment projects involving Toyota Motor Corp. and other concerns are under way, showed the sharpest percentage rise, of 26.4 percent to 4.60 million yen.

In stark contrast, average land prices in the Tohoku region comprising six prefectures continued to fall 4.5 percent on year to 42,000 yen per sq. meter for the 14th consecutive year.

Takashi Ishizawa, a Mizuho Securities chief economist watching land prices, said the latest figures clearly show widening price gaps between major cities and rural areas.

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