Rise in number of unclaimed land in Japan

Rise in number of unclaimed land in Japan
Photo Credit To Willy AuYeung

Japan for a good period of time now has been struggling with a number of challenges including gender equality, an aging population, low birthrate and more recently, “unclaimed” lands.


Accounting for roughly 11% of Japan’s total area and larger than Kyushu’s land area of 3.7 million hectares, the amount of abandoned and unclaimed lands in Japan keeps rising. Most land owners are required to pay management costs as well as taxes even though their plot is of little value, resulting in many of them deciding not to claim these lands or abandoning them completely.

A team led by the former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Mr. Hiroya Masuda aims at proposing ways to deal with the current situation as increase in unclaimed land could lead to forest denudation and more stagnant property market. Suggested measures include a network of property ledgers on real estate as well as creating institutions to deal with abandoning and donating land.

Renewable energy enthusiasts are leaning more towards the reuse of such land for solar energy development although this suggestion has fallen on deaf ears and is a quite disputed topic with the Japanese government.

The decline in land value caused by depopulation is believed to be one of the reasons behind largely unclaimed land.

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