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Sales of government-owned land, a key source of nontax revenue, totaled ¥93.3 billion in fiscal 2009 owing to a shift in policy and reduced demand, officials said Tuesday.

It was the first time the figure fell below ¥100 billion in 15 years.

The government adopted a growth strategy in June featuring a policy change from sales of unused lots toward leasing them.

By leasing the properties to entities such as day care centers and nursing homes for the elderly, the government aims to improve the nation’s fiscal health and upgrade social security, the officials said.

According to the Finance Ministry, sales of government land peaked out at ¥366.9 billion in fiscal 2003. The global financial crisis in 2008 caused a plunge in demand for real estate.

Unused lots owned by the government amounted to ¥1.810.8 trillion on a book value basis at the end of fiscal 1999.

The total plummeted to ¥378.9 billion at the end of fiscal 2009, last March 31.

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