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Land prices sank by an average of 8.0 percent in 2009 as the rise in office vacancies following the global financial crisis threw cold water on the real estate market, the National Tax Agency said Thursday.

As of Jan. 1, the price of land in Japan had fallen in all 47 prefectures to an average of ¥126,000 per sq. meter, the agency said, or 2.5 points greater than in 2008, when prices also fell nationwide.

These “roadside land prices” are announced each year by the tax agency after it assesses some 380,000 benchmark points across the nation to calculate taxes.

Prices dropped faster in the nation’s three top urban centers. The Tokyo region posted the deepest decline, of 9.7 percent, compared with 6.5 percent the previous year.

The Osaka region, however, accelerated its plunge to 8.3 percent from 3.4 percent the previous year, while the Nagoya region fell a slower 7.6 percent, compared with 6.3 percent in 2008.

In the other regions, prices fell 5.9 percent, accelerating from 3.8 percent the previous year.

In the 47 prefectural capitals, 45 logged falling prices, with Tokyo and Nagoya saying prices fell by more than 20 percent.

Only two prefectural capitals — Mie’s Tsu and Yamaguchi — saw prices stay unchanged.

A plot of famed Ginza stationary store Kyukyodo in Tokyo retained its title as the nation’s most expensive patch of land for the 25th year in a row, but its ¥23.2 million per sq. meter price tag has plunged 25.6 percent in the past year.

The price for the Kyukyodo plot peaked at ¥36.5 million in 1992 and bottomed out at ¥11.36 million in 1997.

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