Regulations requiring advance notification of the sale of land containing a water source came into effect on October 1st, but Hokkaido is already facing the difficult task of identifying and contacting land owners.
In Hokkaido, 53 areas were designated for water resource preservation. Correspondence has been sent to the 4,000 affected land owners, but only 60% could be contacted. The whereabouts of the remaining land owners remains unknown.
As the new regulations do not provide a course of action in the event that the land owner is unreachable, the prefecture is at a loss for what to do. There is an urgent need to find a solution as abandoned lots can pose a danger to surroundings (eg. through landslides, abandoned buildings collapsing or catching fire, and illegal dumping).
Source: Hokkaido Shimbun, October 8, 2012.
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