The Daily Manila Shimbun


Land with unknown owners to reach 7.2m hectares in 2040

October 26, 2017

Land plots with unknown owners in Japan are expected to add up to some 7.2 million hectares in 2040, a panel of experts estimated in a report on Thursday.

This is equivalent to about 90 pct of the area of Hokkaido, the country's largest landmass, and economic losses from such derelict properties are estimated to total around 6 trillion yen, according to the panel, chaired by former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Hiroya Masuda.

In June last year, the experts said about 4.1 million hectares of land had been derelict as of 2016 due to improper registration of inheritors and other reasons or difficulties in reaching owners.

The panel has since come up with the estimate that another 3.1 million hectares will become effectively ownerless and unable to use by 2040, after analyzing projections on deaths and failed inheritance registrations.

The estimated total economic loss includes lost tax income, the cost for work to locate their owners and losses from not utilizing the land plots such as for farming,.

"The bulk of the 6-trillion-yen loss is to be covered with taxpayers' money," Masuda told a press conference. "That will deal a very heavy blow with the national and local governments, which have already been faced with financing difficulties," he pointed out. Jiji Press