Tokyo Housing Stock and Demographic Decline

Today I read an interesting article on Tokyo's growing number of abandoned homes, though it's a problem everywhere in Japan. Every city I lived in or passed through during my life in Japan had vacant homes, or homes so overgrown with vines that they surely were.

Not uncommonly I would watch a TV program about an island of fisherfolk where the youngest person was in their 40s. I would read about schools closing, because there were no longer enough children to justify the expense of an elementary school, which forced parents to send their children to boarding schools or move to other more populous locations. Junior colleges and four-year colleges were closing because there were no longer enough students; the good colleges maintain their capacities at the expense of the lesser colleges, with the result that the better colleges' students' quality begins to drop.

One thing I wonder is whether this problem might encourage Japan to loosen its property ownership laws. As I understood it, only foreigners married to Japanese nationals or foreigners with residency right (e.g., a work visa as I had) can buy Japanese property. I briefly considered doing so in both Tokushima and Tokyo, but I never did.

We're it possible, I would love to own a bit of land in Tokushima Prefecture. Indeed, I would be most interested in areas that are already probably rather inexpensive.