Regulations

Can foreigners buy a property in Japan ? : Fundamental rules when acquiring a property

Interested in buying a property in Japan where the country risk is lowest in the world ?
Japan is a rare Asian country insofar as it allows foreigners to buy a property. Foreigners can buy both land and building without special qualification. When it comes to buying a property here, Japan has very few restrictions than the Western countries.

Ownership rights to land and building in Japan by a foreigner is also permitted just like Japanese citizens.

When a registrar has made a registration of ownership with respect to a real property with Legal Affairs Bureau, he/she shall can officially claim the title deeds of the property. However, there are restrictions on agricultural land (farmland). You need to get prior permission from a local agriculture committee (nogyo-iinkai) or governor when you buy the farmland. At least one corporate manager (one member of new owner) has to engage in full-time farming. In other words, if you want to buy farmland, you must become a farmer. The

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Controversial Japanese Government’s new immigration policy: PM Abe uses the acute labor shortage to push for relaxing the immigration law

(A view from Japanese kominka house, folk house)

Japan is facing the serious shortage of workforce and ageing problem.
How should this country cope with a serious population decline and sustain the vitality of its society and economy?
According to Yomiuri shimbun, the overall shortage is estimated to be 580,000 at present, and was projected to reach 1.45 million five years from now. After subtracting from these figures increases in the number of elderly and women workers and the like, a maximum of 47,000 foreign workers will be accepted in the fiscal year when the planned revisions of the immigration control law take effect, and up to 345,000 over the five years from the revisions.
The government and the ruling camp, led by the Liberal Democratic Party(LDP), will now shift their focus to a key bill to revise the immigration control law and create new residence status in order to allow Japan to accept more foreign workers.Time employed under new visas won’t count toward working period requirement for permanent residency.
The Justice Ministry does not intend to count time spent employed under one of two new visas set to be introduced spring 2018 when checking whether those who apply for permanent residency status meet requirements.One of the prerequisites for permanent residency in Japan is having five years of work experience in the country. But according to the sources, those working under the new proposed visa status — which will be available to individuals with considerable knowledge or experience in areas where human resources are lacking in the nation – will not be able to cite time spent under this status as working time when they apply for permanent residency.
The new visa, along with another type intended for individuals with more seasoned skills in areas similar to those under the first type, is aimed at making up for labor shortages in certain job categories, and will open the door to more foreign blue-collar workers.
In the meantime, the ministry is still considering how to handle time spent working in Japan under the second type of visa.

(Hakuba, Nagano prefecture)

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Buying a house in Japan ? Here’s all-too common mistakes to avoid


We don’t need to tell you about the brilliance of Japan quality: detailed, good service and competitive price etc etc.  
But for how good Japan quality in general is, it’s equally easy to screw up. Badly.
Japan’s real estate industry and construction industry are full of fraudulent companies.
A number of them are rogue (of course, there are good and trustworthy companies, too.)
You need to be very careful to deal with them.
When you build your brand-new house in Japan, you must be extra mindful because it could be a disaster if it goes wrong.
It is widely known to the industry professionals that the laws are not necessarily protecting the consumers
(customers).
Why is the owner (consumer) in so disadvantageous position ?

There are five main reasons.
1.The industry is not seeking a repeat business so they don’t look after customers well
2. High overhead cost
3. The related laws have many loopholes
4. The owner(customer) trusts the contractor  (real estate agents and builders included) too much
5. Victim’s tragic stories are not widely reported in the media.

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You want to get Japan’s green card by the real estate investment ? : Here is what you practically should do

Here is an idea worth considering. Imagine being able to get Japan’s new green card only in a year.
Japan needs more skilled foreign workers.
To attract more foreign workers, Japanese government relaxed requirements for permanent residency (so-called green card) last April (2018)
Before relaxing the requirement, high skilled professional (HSP) workers had to stay in Japan for at least five years before applying for green card, but now just one year is required.
In fact, it is the fastest green card system in the developed countries.
Some pundits are saying relaxed law will bring more foreign high skilled workers but whether it will be a game-changer remains to be seen.
Japan is also said to be a tough country for foreign workers to live due to the very unique traditions such as corporate culture and seniority system, which is another hurdle to clear even after obtaining the green card.
In 2012, Japan introduced a point system for skilled workers. The points are given based on individual backgrounds, including business experience, income, Japanese-language fluency and academic degrees. The system is intended to give preferential status to such skilled workers, including a shortened path for permanent residency.  When the system was enacted, those who had 70 points or more could apply for green card after five years. Normally, it takes 10 years to apply for the status.

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Fast track for permanent residency for highly skilled foreigners :Japan’s Groundbreaking New Green Card system


Japan dramatically relaxed Green Card system !
Bold new opportunity to obtain Japan’s new Green Card.
Are you interested in Japanese Green Card with Japan’s social security and universal healthcare service ?
Here is what you should do. 
Invest in the property here and get the ‘business manager’ status.
Japan is facing the acute shortage of workforce.
To address the issue, Prime Minister Abe has been drastically relaxing the immigration control for both low skilled workers and high skilled professionals.
Japan needs both low skilled workers as well as advanced skilled managers.
There is a new visa category called Highly-Skilled Professionals (HSP).This new category was relaxed dramatically last year and now Japanese government is offering preferential treatment for the category, which makes applicants much easier to apply for the so-called
‘GREEN CARD’.

In this relaxed category, HSP can apply for ‘GREEN CARD’ earliest within ONE YEAR (subject to your points) after you
get status of HSP. The Green Card application procedure is based on the points-based system.
The new approach follows the government’s introduction of a point system for highly skilled professionals in 2012.
Under this system, people are scored according to factors such as academic background, career background and annual salary, and are categorized under the field of “academic research,” “technical activities,” or “business management.”Read more

The lure of Japan’s hidden treasures “Akiya” : Why are so many houses abandoned in Japan ?

Terrifying hidden crisis or treasures ?
In Japan, recycling is so much part of our culture.
And yet, it is also the norm for Japanese to demolish their houses with almost less thought than most people would give to disposing beloved ceramic bowls.
People believe homes are usually built to last 50 odd years. Japanese building culture is often described as ‘scrap and build’.
The reasons for this phenomenon range from the ageing to need for constantly updating building technology as it revolves.
With shrinking population, the result is a housing problem that is the opposite of what most countries face. Japan has too many houses that no one wants.
According to the government statistics, the number of vacant houses (空き家、akiya) in 2013 reached 8.2 million.
(But the 8.2 million includes houses/apartment units for rent that are only vacant temporarily as owners try to find tenants or buyers. So genuine empty homes that have been abandoned altogether number about 3 million)
Moreover, many who inherit a house are unable to sell them because of a shortage of interested buyers. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas.
According to one statistics, the top ten ranking of akiya in prefectures as of 2013 was as follows.
(The number indicates the percentage of akiya in dwellings of  each prefecture)
In these prefectures, 1 out 5 properties are empty.

1.Yamanashi   22%
2.Nanago        19.8%
3.Wakayama   18.1%
4.Kochi            17.8%
5.Tokushima    17.5%
5.  Ehime          17.5%
7. Kagawa        17.2%
8. Kagoshima   17.0% 
9.Gunma           16.6%
10.Tochigi          16.3%
10. Shizuoka     16.3%

(top10 ranking)

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A solution to the hotel shortage ? New minpaku (民泊, private lodging) law in Japan : How does it work ? and how can you tap your property ?

I have a friend who has enjoyed hosting international visitors in Tokyo in her
own condo.
She has been hosting international visitors in her spare two-bedroom apartment
but will have to stop it because her building association (管理組合)has decided to
ban the minpaku business ahead of the law’s
enactment in June 2018.
She was able to meet many different people she would have not met otherwise.
A lot of foreign friends have been asking me a question about minpaku (民泊、private lodging) in Japan.
Today I am going to discuss the basic knowledge about minpaku and minpaku law
set by the government in 2016.
How does the new minpaku law work ?
What is the implication on the real estate industry ?

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How to avoid mistakes when choosing a real estate agent -Perennial Ryote-torihiki(両手取引) and Kakoikomi(囲い込み) problem-

 

As the book ‘Freakonomics’ (2005 by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.) describes
information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent―all depending on who wields it and how.

It is common for one party to a transaction to have better information than another party.
In the parlance of economists, such a case is known as an information asymmetry.

If you were to assume that many experts use their information to your detriment, you’d be right.
Experts depend on the fact that you don’t have the information they do.”

A real-estate agent may see you not so much as an ally but as a mark.”

Too fazing  ?Read more

What is the 2022 problem in Tokyo property market ?


Some critics in the industry are predicting the price of condominiums in Tokyo shall drop soon simply because they are too expensive for people to buy.
According to Nikkei in December 2017, the average price of a newly built condo in the capital region — Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama
and Chiba — rose 7.6% in 2017 to 59.08 million yen ($533,000).
That was higher than the average in 1989 and 1991 and the second-highest level ever,
trailing only the 1990 record by 2.15 million yen.
Are condominiums really too expensive ? Are those critics are right ?
We need a crystal ball to predict the future
but today I am going to discuss the reason why the price of condominiums may go down.
Personally though, I am still mildly bullish about the market right now due the global aspect (see below UBS report)
and the  healthy growth of the secondhand condominium market.

It is always to good to listen to the people with different opinions.
Let’s listen to what  critics have to say.
We saw the condominiums developers go bankrupt one after another in the recession after the global financial crisis in 2008.
Nonetheless, the current price of newly built condominiums in greater Tokyo area has risen up sharply over several years and they are becoming more and more unaffordable for average salaried workers.
In the latest Tokyo kantei report in 2017, the average price of new condominiums are about 8-10 times higher than average annual income of the skilled workers in greater Tokyo area.(vs. 14 times in London)
London house price
The reason for raising is not because real demand is strong because everyone wants to buy them.
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Hidden Defects : Risks in private real estate investment in Japan (Part1)


There are risks associated with any investment – loss of capital, finance, leverage and liquidity risks and so on.

Not like buying the paper assets such as REITS, many of these are only relevant to the direct investment (where the investor invests, owns and has control over the real estate asset).
This article will highlight the main risks associated with investing in real estate in Japan and provides commentary on how to analyse and mitigate these risks.
Today I am going to discuss the risks at time of acquisition.
Unlike regulated industries such as accounting and financial planning, working for a property company (as distinct from working as a traditional real estate agent),
does not require a great deal of education, experience, or study prowess. Marketing investment property requires nothing really but the ability to sell.

That is one of the reasons why there are unlicensed (often rogue )
‘property consultants’ in Japan.
Engaging in the marketing activity to lure the investors without holding a license is against the
Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Law. If your consultant or agent do not hold
the license, your contract is not protected by the said law.

For more information, please see my post on February 11, 2018.
Are there any rogue real estate agents in Japan ?
At the end of the day, even the good agents cannot guarantee the success of the investment and thus investors must learn the risks and returns
before they make a investment.

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