The number of vacant houses improperly managed is increasing as the nation grows grayer and some areas experience depopulation. Many problems plague vacant houses as they fall into disrepair, including arson and other crimes, blight and safety issues. In 1988, there were 3.95 million vacant houses across the nation. The number increased to 7.57 million in 2008, or 13 percent of the total number of houses. Of these vacant houses, 1.73 million are wooden.

Many local governments have established by-laws in an effort to try to prevent problems involving vacant houses, including by-laws that strongly urge owners to properly manage their properties. But in many cases, owners live far away from the vacant houses they own and they fail to take sufficient steps to remedy the situation. Therefore the central government must provide concrete assistance to local governments that are struggling to deal with this problem. The assistance should be given on an individual basis because the problems municipalities face vary from case to case.

If vacant houses deteriorate to the point where they pose a danger to other people, municipalities can tear them down as execution by proxy under a provision of the Building Standards Law. More than 200 local governments have enforced by-laws to deal with problems of vacant houses as of April 1 — more than 10 percent of Japan's prefectural and municipal governments. Many of them want to prevent vacant houses from posing a danger to local residents.