Business / Economy

Land prices rise in 10 prefectures, but overall trend is down

Kyodo

Land prices in Japan rose in 10 prefectures over the year to Jan. 1, the National Tax Agency said in an annual report released Wednesday. In the previous year of measurement, prices rose in eight prefectures.

But nationwide prices declined an average 0.4 percent from a year earlier, for a seventh straight fall. This was an improvement on the year before, when they fell 0.7 percent.

The survey of roughly 329,000 locations nationwide is used for inheritance tax calculations.

Rising prices were attributable to increasing investment in real estate, mainly by foreign investors, due to the yen’s depreciation and low interest rates under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies amid a gradual economic recovery.

Of the country’s 47 prefectures, the sharpest rise was 2.5 percent in Miyagi, followed by 2.3 percent in Fukushima, where reconstruction was underway after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo came next, with 2.1 percent.

The 10 prefectures in which prices increased comprised Miyagi, Fukushima, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka and Okinawa.

Prices fell in 35 prefectures, down from last year’s 38 prefectures.

The margin of decline widened from last year in the five prefectures of Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Hokkaido, Shimane and Oita.

The highest land prices in prefectural capitals went up in 21 cities, up from 18 last year, and fell in 12 cities, down from last year’s 21.

Land prices plunged 49 percent in one part of Hiroshima City’s Asa-Minami Ward, where landslides killed 74 people last year.

The agency’s report still found no value in land assets in parts of Fukushima Prefecture designated as evacuation zones in the wake of the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Of all locations measured in the survey, the priciest patch of land was in front of the Kyukyodo stationery store in Tokyo’s Ginza district, where 1 sq. meter cost ¥26.96 million, up 14.2 percent from last year. That location has held the title since 1986 — a reign of 30 years.

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