Japan enacts Land Use Restriction Bill

Poste date: Monday, June 21, 2021

Japan enacts Land Use Restriction Bill

In the early hours of March 26, the Japanese government enacted a new bill (Land Use Restriction Bill) tightening regulations on the the acquisition and usage of land around Self-Defense Forces bases, nuclear plants, and remote islands that are adjacent to the national borders.

This act designates the area within 1km around the important facilities and the remote islands that are adjacent to the national borders as “Vigilance Zone”, and allows the government to examine the names, addresses, and actual state of use, etc.  For particularly important facilities, the surrounding areas are designated as “Special Vigilance Zone”, and prior notification shall be required for the purchase and sale of land and building with more than a certain amount of area. It may also impose a criminal penalty to those who do not follow the government’s order to discontinue “the acts that interfere with the function” of the aforementioned important facilities or the remote islands.

The Japanese government has been positioning land transactions with foreign capital as an issue of "economic security" in which economic activity and national security are linked together. At present, there have been no confirmed cases of problems caused by foreign investment in the purchase of lands around the Self-Defense Forces bases, but the government insists that there is certainly "a risk to national security " and the need for the law, because in the background there is a movement of increasing land purchase by foreign capitals such as China, and a trend of tightening similar land-use regulations worldwide.

However, some opposition parties have pointed out the government's possible restriction of people's private rights, and others pointed out that the government have not shown the criteria of the actual target zones and the examples of the acts that interfere with the function of important facilities with reference to a criminal penalty. About these issues careful explanations by the government may be required in the future.

(Reference source: 2021/06/16 Asahi Shimbun DIGITAL, 2021/06/17 NIKKEI Newspaper)


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