The estimated number of uninhabited houses across Japan continues to rise as the supply of newly built properties keeps growing despite the declining population, while the demolition of unused homes or efforts to list them on the market make slow progress. According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, there were 260,000 more vacant houses in Japan last October than five years earlier. The number was put at a record 8.46 million, accounting for 13.6 percent of Japan’s total.

Unoccupied and badly maintained houses are not just an eyesore; they are safety hazards in terms of their potential use in crimes and the danger that they could collapse during a natural disaster, injuring anyone nearby and creating obstacles to rescue efforts.

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