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Nearly 60% of vacant houses in Japan, excluding those intended for sale, are in very poor condition, with decay and other significant damage.

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A land ministry spokesman, commenting on the results of a survey. (Jiji Press)

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Nearly 60% of vacant houses in Japan, excluding those intended for sale, are in very poor condition, with decay and other significant damage.

It's called "hallowing-out". And with Japan againg as radidly as it is, and many of these folks dying in rural parts of the country -- parts the young people have abandoned -- it will only continue. Of less, of course, the government comes up with something radical to turn this around. Never mind, this is Japan and the LDP we are talking about.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

This sounds like a dramatic statement, but isn't it kind of a nothing? If you exclude houses intended for sale... well, why exactly would people have houses sitting around vacant otherwise?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nearly 60% of vacant houses in Japan, excluding those intended for sale, are in very poor condition, with decay and other significant damage.

Because it's more tax effective for the heirs to keep rotten homes in situ than demolish them.

Exorbitant demolition and disposal costs further result in post-industrial/post-residential 'brown' sites blotting the landscape while farmland and other green sites are developed.

It's no wonder Beautiful Japan is, well, not half as beautiful as it might otherwise be.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

An article following the quote would have helped. Jerseyboy nailed it. The houses in question are without doubt abandoned and most are most likely in remote rural areas. It is probable that in many or most cases people who abandon houses do not own the land. Those that do own the land are likely waiting to be bought out.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan's property tax scheme is the major culprit behind the huge number of abandoned and dilapidated homes in Japan.

If you own a piece of land with a structure on it, your property tax goes up six-fold if you have the structure demolished. That is a huge incentive for owners not to do away with the plethora of rat-infested firetraps dotting Japan's cities and countryside.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have been pointing this out for decades. And meanwhile, more people are attempting to raise children in tiny apartments than ever before.

The government should force owners of empty houses to offer them for rent. The situation would be good for everybody except for the owners of those shameful rabbit hutches being mistakenly referred to as "apartments".

3 ( +4 / -1 )

those shameful rabbit hutches being mistakenly referred to as "apartments"

It's been long that Japan's housing is called as rabbit hutches by overseas but the Japanese don't seem to care so why would you?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It's called "hallowing-out".

The country is becoming holier and more sacred?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What you might call a rabbit hutch, I call cozy and easy to clean and care for. I hate giant American houses. What a waste of space.

I do like my huge roof garden though. That is prime real estate in my book when in Japan. But only foreigners care about having outdoor space. The Japanese themselves prefer a cement coffin for a home.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's been long that Japan's housing is called as rabbit hutches by overseas but the Japanese don't seem to care so why would you?

Talking for the ittensanoku again? Japanese use the term usagigoya often. Do you know any?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The obsession with the new is part of the problem. People would rather buy a new apartment to live in and accept the depreciation in value that comes with it.

Moving back here, I bought a 60 year old house. Needs some maintenance, but it cost me around 60% of what a new house would and is perfectly fine.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As Sensato said, the land taxes go way up if your property sits empty, so it makes no financial sense to demolish an old house unless you are ready to build a new one (or sell the land). I understand the thought behind the tax code, but (as is usual) it is poorly written and counterproductive. If they don't want land sitting idle, and don't want derelict houses blotting the landscape, they need to rewrite the law so that it requires some standard of maintenance for vacant houses. (Of course, there is a loophole here too. A landowner could simply allow a homeless person to move into a derelict house, thereby making it non-vacant.) Still, one would think a team of lawmakers would be able to draft a fairly simple solution. They never seem to though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is a MASSIVE problem, I remember reading recently over 8million homes sit vacant/abandoned in Japan, did a quick search & this is a bit dated but gives you the scale of what this really means.

Japan's daft property tax ways has caused a lot of the blight that gets worse everyday here & its NOT just the countryside, its everywhere

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/07/national/abandoned-homes-a-growing-menace/#.VlMnPv_otjp

As another poster pointed out you do see some new developments BUT they often break ground on farmland or destroy forests for new building etc when often within spitting distance are properties with older building that could be torn down & re-built but this seldom hapems

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a MASSIVE problem, I remember reading recently over 8million homes sit vacant/abandoned in Japan,

GW, I read that it is more like 10 million. newsonjapan was my source.

Why doesn't the government buy all these houses out from the property owners, use government money to renovate them, and just give them for free to the tohoku refugees as well as young couples who have two or more children

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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