Kan continues quest to control foreign land ownership in Japan – are legal reforms likely?

There are no restrictions against foreigners purchasing and holding land in Japan.

However, with recent disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands igniting land ownership debates, many seemingly ordinary purchases by foreign capital are now under media scrutiny. This includes the purchase of forests in Hokkaido and the purchase of resort properties by a Korean group near a military base in Nagasaki.

Prime Minster Kan has recently started to raise the point of restricting land ownership in order to protect national interests.

The following is a translation of an article from the Asahi Shimbun, October 26th 2010.

On October 26th, members of the Kan cabinet put forward that discussion is required in relation to foreigners and foreign funds acquiring real estate in Japan, and how it affects national security and the private right to own property.

“Regarding foreigners and land acquisition laws, the government should also consider the aspect of security. ”

Under the “Alien Land Law” enacted in 1925, land acquisition of areas deemed necessary for national defense was prohibited. The actual ordinance that designated certain areas was abolished after World War II.  Restrictions are now being determined by new cabinet ordinances.

On October 15th,  Prime Minister Kan announced to the Budget Committee of the upper house of the diet that restrictions against foreign acquisition of land are necessary. Click to read about his remarks.

tsushima-resort-purchase
Tsushima Island, Nagasaki. Land highlighted in yellow was purchased by a Korean group. The red area belongs to the Special Defense Forces.