9th January, 2018

The Japanese have a huge amount of land idle land


Not only does a large number of land free and inherited land have little practical interests, but on the contrary, it is unrelated to becoming a burden, and no one is willing to inherit. Japan’s population decline also makes land demand decline, even if the land can not be sold. Nowadays, people living in cities can’t manage these lands, which also makes the inheritance meaningless.


The population density of Japan is among the best in the world, and the land is very precious. But the strange thing is that today, what makes Japan sad is not a difficult place, but a large number of idle land can not find the owner. The total area without main land has reached 41 thousand and 500 square kilometers, accounting for 11% of the land area, and 1/5 of the country’s private land, which is larger than the area of Kyushu.


Under normal circumstances, the owner of real estate passed, the remainderman should go to the relevant departments to fulfill the formalities for the transfer of. But this is not an obligation that must be fulfilled, and it is entirely dependent on the will of the successor. If the successor fails to fulfill the transfer procedures, the real estate certificate or property certificate is still the name of the deceased, so that the real estate organization can not know who is the real estate successor. With the passage of time and the alternation of new and old, the successors of real estate are also increasing. This makes the real owners』 information of the real estate company away from the reality.


According to the Ministry of justice had on the sampling survey in 10 areas of the country, more than 50 years without the change of registration, to perform transfer procedures without land, accounting for 6.6% in the big city, but in the small city and mountain areas accounted for more than 26.6%, does not fulfill the transfer procedures of up to 67%, the nature of land utilization and disposal form a great obstacle. For example, in April 2016, an earthquake occurred in Xiongben County, Kyushu, where a considerable number of houses collapsed or tilted. And reconstruction, the owner of the house must be authorized, but more than 50 houses can not find the owner, significantly affected the reconstruction of the disaster area. Yamagata County of Hegang city in 2015 the city would like to know the intention of the 2806 empty house owner, issued a letter of inquiry after the 479 letters that could not be served by another 142 wholly intact returned, because the address is unknown and was returned.


There is a small town of only 15 thousand people. In 2013, a small amount of private land was occupied by the construction of a highway, so the landlords were asked to communicate. A private land with a mere 192 square meters has not been implemented by three generations, but now there are as many as 150 people who have the right to inherit. This makes the real estate department unable to identify who is the real successor. Because some of them have no exact contact address, there are people who have moved abroad and have no contact at all. As long as one person is not connected, it is impossible to determine the successor, and the issues related to the requisition of land will not be unfolded.


This problem is far from today in Japan. In rural areas, especially in the name of the real estate book, the name of the owner died decades ago, and it is still not renamed. This caused a great obstacle to the local intensive farming, the abandoned land increased year by year. The Japanese government departments still have no way. Because it involves many departments, such as the province of legal affairs and the province of land and transportation. Except for private property rights, no government department is willing to actively participate, or even the root of the matter has not carried out any communication and exchange of opinions.


After a great earthquake in the northeast of Japan in March 2011, this problem became more and more prominent. Now it has become an important social problem that can not be avoided. According to a questionnaire survey conducted by 1718 local tax bureaus in 2014 by a researcher from Tokyo financial group, there were 557 answers to the confusion of the successor who could not find the land. In fact, the real estate owners are 「giving up their rights」. This is not so important at ordinary times. Once the major natural disasters such as earthquakes occur or the relevant local governments intend to solve the vacancy problem, it becomes an urgent problem immediately.


How should we solve this problem from the system? It is obvious that Japan is rather inadequate in mastering the important basic information of the state’s land ownership and use. Although the categories of housing / estate certificates, fixed assets tax bills and farm bills are classified, their contents and accuracy are uneven, so it is difficult to grasp accurate information from a single channel. As the basis of land management, cadastral survey has been more than half a century since 1951, because of shortage of manpower and tight funds. By the end of 2016, only 52% had been investigated.


In all kinds of records, the real estate register should be the most authoritative record of the relevant information. But as mentioned before, because the transfer procedure is not an obligation, the real estate registration system is only a framework to maintain this right and transaction safety, not to facilitate relevant administrative departments and land management departments to grasp relevant information. In addition, even after the transfer, all the people have no obligation to inform the new address after their relocation.


This, of course, is not only seldom related to the real interests of the inherited land, but also tends to be a burden. Therefore, the relevant successors will often shuffle each other, no one will be willing to inherit. In addition, Japan’s population decline also makes the land demand decline, even if the land can not be sold. Nowadays, people living in cities can’t manage these lands in the countryside, which also makes the inheritance meaningless.