Japan’s land with unknown owners to reach 7.2mln ha by 2040

TOKYO, Oct. 27 — A glut of property whose owners are unknown could take up some 7.2 million hectares by 2040 in Japan, a governmental group’s study has shown.

That area is nearly as big as the whole of the northern island of Hokkaido, said an expert group on unclaimed property set up by the Japanese government at an Oct. 26 press conference.

The group pointed out the growing presence of such properties will impede collection of asset taxes by local authorities as well as hamper public work construction and government projects such as consolidation of farmland.

As of now, there is an estimated 4.1 million ha of property with unknown owners in Japan, it said.

But with the death toll of the elderly rising in a rapidly ageing society and people becoming unconscious of the importance of registering inherited land, the group said: “Without proper measures, it would only exasperate the problem.”

The group said efforts to identify owners often take huge amounts of time and money, if they don’t register as such. It estimated that there could be an accumulated loss of 6 trillion yen by 2040.

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