In 2007, the total area of Japan was approximately 37.79 million ha (93.38 million acres). 80% of this total area was comprised of forestry (25.08 million ha, 61.97 million acres) and agricultural land (4.73 million ha, 11.68 million acres). The remaining land was divided into developed land (residential, industrial and other land) of 1.87 million ha (4.62 million acres), roads of 1.34 million ha (3.31 million acres), surface water, rivers, canals of 1.33 million ha (3.28 million acres), and fields 0.28 million ha, (0.69 million acre) (see Chart 2-1-1).
In 2007, approximately 20,600 ha (50,902 acres) of land were converted to different uses (3.3% decrease from the previous year).
This includes the conversion of 16,500 ha (40,771 acres) of agricultural land (agriculture, forestry and reclaimed land) to urban uses (residential, industrial, public land use, etc.) (2.4 % decrease from the previous year).
The conversion within agriculture and forestry land use (forestry to agricultural land, and agricultural to forestry land) was 1,400 ha (3,459 acres) (16.7% increase from the previous year) (see Chart 2-1-2).
In 2008, the total area of cultivated land in Japan was 4.63 million ha (11.44 million acres), which constitutes approximately 12% of the total area of Japan. Out of the total agricultural land, 2.52 million ha (6.22 million acres) of land was paddy fields and 2.11 million ha (5.21 million acres) was other cultivated fields (see Chart 2-1-3).
The amount of cultivated land has continuously declined. On the other hand, the ratio of cultivation (the annually accumulated area under crop, divided by cultivated areas) has leveled off recently (see Chart 2-1-4).
In 2007, the total area of forestry land in Japan was 25.08 million ha (61.97 million acres), which constitutes 66.4% of the total area of Japan (see Chart 2-1-5).
The most important forested areas are designated as protected forests, in order to promote their public benefits, and totaled 11.88 million ha (29.35 million acres) (approximately 31% of the area of Japan) in March 2008 (see Chart 2-1-6).
In 2007, the land area of industrial locations came to 2,741 ha (6,773 acres), representing an increase of 15.9% from the previous year (see Chart 2-1-7).
By regions, the area of industrial locations increased in Kinki (up 62.8% from the previous year), Chugoku (up 52.1%), Kyushu (up 32.4%) and Hokkaido (up 20.7%) (see Chart 2-1-8).
In FY2007, newly constructed floor space of offices in Japan totaled 7.391 million sqm (79.55 million sqf), representing a decrease of 6.8% from the previous year (see Chart 2-1-9).
In FY2007, newly constructed floor space of offices in Tokyo's 23 wards totaled 1.158 million sqm (12.46 million sqf), representing an increase of 14.8 % from the previous year (see Chart 2-1-10).
During FY2007, 5,400 ha (13,343 acres), a 10.0% decrease from the previous year, was supplied as residential land, of which 1,100 ha (2,718 acres) was supplied by the public sector and 4,300 ha (10,625 acres) by the private sector (see Chart 2-1-11). Areas with newly granted development permissions and areas approved for land readjustment projects, which provide forward indices, were 3,805 ha (9,402 acres) (10.4% increase from the previous year) and 914 ha (2,268 acres) (14.7% increase from the previous year) (see Chart 2-1-12).
In 2008, construction started on 1.09 million residential properties, an increase of 3.1% from the previous year (see Chart 2-1-13 and 2-1-14).
The sale of newly constructed condominiums in Japan in 2008 totaled 98,037 houses (a decrease of 26.7 % from the previous year), according to research conducted by Real Estate Economic Institute Co., Ltd. (see Chart 2-1-15).
The national average price for newly constructed condominiums was JPY 39.01 million (an increase of 2.3% from the previous year), and the average price per sqm (10.7 sqf) was JPY 520,000 (an increase of 4.4% from the previous year) (see Chart 2-1-16).
Approximately 85% of the total land area in Japan falls into two categories: "developed land/agricultural land" and "forestry/fields". In FY2007, 37% of the land area was owned by the public sector (27% by the Central Government and 10% by local governments); and 63% by the private sector (see Chart 2-2-1).
As of 1 January 2008, 85.5% of land was owned by individuals and 14.5% by corporations (see Chart 2-2-2).
There were 38.99 million landowners in Japan in 2008. By land use, there were 33.23 million owners of developed land, and 27.34 million of these were owners of residential land (a sub-category within developed land). There were 9.88 million owners of paddy fields and other cultivated lands, and 5.42 million owners of forestry and fields (see Chart 2-2-3).
There were 6.21 million owners of land in the Metropolitan areas. By land use, there were 6.38 million owners of developed land (see Chart 2-2-4).
As of the end of FY2007 (end of March 2008), the area of land registered on the National Asset Registration Sheet (i.e. land owned by the Central Government) was 8.769 million ha (21.66 million acres), representing 23.2% of total area of Japan (see Chart 2-2-5). Lands owned by Central Government are categorized into two types: lands owned for the purpose of Central Government administrative activities (Administrative Property) and lands owned for other purposes (Non-Administrative Property).
As of the end of FY2007 (end of March 2008), land owned by local governments (including land owned by the Land Development Foundation (tochi-kaihatsu-kikin), etc.) totaled 3.09 million ha (7.635 million acres), of which 1.05 million ha (2.594 million acres) was owned by prefectural governments and 2.041 million ha (5.043 million acres) was owned by municipal governments, representing 8.2% of the total area of Japan (2.8% by prefecture governments, and 5.4% by municipal governments) (see Chart 2-2-6).
The number of land transactions (i.e. the number of freehold land transfer registrations) undertaken through purchase and disposal was 1,294,121 in 2008, a decline of 8.5 % compared to the previous year (see Chart 2-2-7).
With regard to size of land investment by institutional sectors, according to Annual Report on National Accounts, the non-financial corporation and general government sectors were net buyers, and the household and financial corporation sectors were net sellers in 2007 (see Chart 2-2-8).
According to Land Price Public Notice as of January 1, 2009, both residential and commercial land prices in Japan declined on a national average basis, during the year from January 2008.
In particular, in the three largest metropolitan regions, both residential land prices, which had posted a rise for two consecutive years, and commercial land prices, which had posted a rise for three consecutive years, declined faster than in non-metropolitan regions. Both residential and commercial land prices in non-metropolitan regions, which had posted a slowing year-on-year declines for four consecutive years, also posted a faster decline, indicating that the downward trend of average land prices in Japan has become evident.
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