HomePOPULARShocking To Know That Vacant Houses Reach Record High in Japan

Shocking To Know That Vacant Houses Reach Record High in Japan

Japan is grappling with a staggering problem as the number of vacant houses in the country has soared to a record high of nine million, surpassing even the population of New York City, according to a report. This surge in vacant properties is directly correlated with Japan’s declining population, presenting a significant challenge for the government amidst concerns over an ageing demographic and low birth rates.

Traditionally, abandoned houses, known as “akiya,” were predominantly found in rural areas. However, this trend has now extended to major cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto. This phenomenon underscores the profound impact of Japan’s shrinking population, with insufficient inhabitants to occupy the existing housing stock.

Data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reveals that a staggering 14% of residential properties in Japan stand vacant. These include not only second homes but also properties left unoccupied due to various factors, such as owners relocating abroad temporarily for work.

Unlike traditional akiya left to decay, the growing number of vacant houses poses multifaceted challenges for the government and local communities. These challenges include hindering efforts to rejuvenate declining towns, posing potential hazards due to lack of maintenance, and increasing risks for rescuers during disasters in a country prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Akiya, often passed down through generations, face the dilemma of having no heir or being inherited by younger generations disinterested in rural living. Furthermore, poor record-keeping by local authorities leaves some properties in administrative limbo, complicating revitalization efforts and impeding attempts to attract younger individuals and investors.

Japan’s tax regulations also contribute to the issue, as property owners may find it economically advantageous to retain their homes rather than demolish them for redevelopment. Even those willing to sell may struggle to find interested buyers, exacerbating the challenge of addressing the surplus of vacant houses nationwide.

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