The latest average land price in the nation’s regions outside the three major metropolitan areas around Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka rose 0.4 percent from a year ago for the first increase in 27 years — yet another milestone in the recovery of land prices, which had long been depressed following the burst of the bubble boom in the early 1990s. Behind the rise in land prices nationwide, however, is a gap between areas that have succeeded in attracting more people and generating economic activities that spur real estate demand, and those that continue to suffer from population exodus and remain unable to revitalize their local economies. This polarization is expected to accelerate as the national population decline gains speed. Local governments need to compete with each other to come up with innovative measures that can draw people and business activities to their areas in order to create a virtuous cycle that pushes up land prices and sustains their tax revenue.

According to data released by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, average commercial land prices as of Jan. 1 rose 2.8 percent and residential land prices picked up 0.6 percent across the country. In the three big metropolitan areas, the average price of commercial land surged 5.1 percent and residential land rose 1 percent. The growth of commercial land prices in the four core regional cities of Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima and Fukuoka was even faster, rising 8.8 percent, 10.7 percent, 5.8 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively.

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