Category Archives: BUSINESS

Apartments in Tokyo continue to shrink in size

Struggling to find a large apartment to buy in Tokyo? There’s a good reason for that.

Brand new apartments over 100 sqm in size supplied across greater Tokyo in 2019 accounted for just 1.9% of total supply. This is a slight improvement from the 1.3% share in 2018.

For the existing apartment market, the share was higher at 3.9%, although that ratio has not changed over the past three years and remains at a relatively low historical level.

Just under 40% of all new apartments were in the 70 sqm (753 sq.ft) range, while just 9.1% were sized between 80 ~ 100 sqm. The biggest shift is in the 30 ~ 50 sqm (323 ~ 538 sq.ft) sector where the total share has increased by 3.1 points to 10% in 2019.

Apartments over 100 sqm (1,076 sq.ft) in size are considered a luxury in Japan and usually come with premium price tags. The majority of family-oriented apartments in Japan are typically around the 70 sqm range. In Tokyo’s Minato Ward, for example, the current average asking price of an apartment over 100 sqm is 2,200,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 1,875 USD/sq.ft). This is about 43% more than the average for apartments under 100 sqm in the same district.

A possible reason for the shrinking supply of larger apartments on the resale market may be due to the typical buyer profile. These apartments may be suited more towards owner-occupiers rather than investors, and, due to their higher pricing, may be purchased by wealthier buyers who tend to hold onto them for a longer timeframe.

Wealthy residential districts such as Minato and Chiyoda wards in central Tokyo have a higher ratio of large apartments due to demand. …continue reading


Plastic bans in Asia: weak tea for complex problems

A worker sorts used plastic bottles to be recycled at a plastic recycling centre in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 21 June, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Christo).

Author: Kris Hartley, Education University of Hong Kong

The turn of the decade is seeing substantial efforts to reduce plastic pollution across Southeast Asia. Around the world, trillions of plastic bags are used each year with troublesome impacts on living conditions and waste infrastructure. In Thailand, a ban on plastic bags for major retailers took effect this year. The Thai government also recently banned imports of electronic and plastic waste. These initiatives reflect an admirably coordinated policy mix, but the effort deserves thoughtful broadening.

Plastic waste is wreaking havoc on natural and human settings, clogging urban drainage systems, befouling rivers and oceans, and exacerbating floods. Plastic bag bans are an appropriate initial step. Still, broader initiatives can be taken such as London retailers’ commitment to ‘plastic-free zones’ and New Zealand’s plastic-free ‘unwrapped‘ program in supermarkets. These efforts are creative extensions of what is said be the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle in the Netherlands.

As blunt policy instruments, bans on or extra charges for plastic bags have mixed results. After the 2015 introduction of a surcharge in the United Kingdom, the number of plastic bags sold by retailers fell precipitously. On the other hand, a 2002 ban on plastic bags in Dhaka, Bangladesh appears to have accomplished little. In Kenya, a similar ban has been irregularly enforced and resulted in illegal smuggling by ‘bag cartels’.

Such bans also threaten some industries; a plastic bag factory on the outskirts of Bangkok saw a 90 per cent <a target=_blank href="" …continue reading


Chongryon branch in Kyoto up for foreclosure

The Kyoto branch of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), has been foreclosed on with public bidding to be held from February 13 ~ 20.

The Kyoto Chosen Kaikan building is a 10-minute drive north-west of Kyoto Station. The 6-story, 49-year old building has a total floor area of 2,400 sqm (25,800 sq.ft) and sits on a 1,700 sqm block of land.

The Resolution and Collection Corporation petitioned the Kyoto District Court in May 2019 to collect on debts owed to the now-defunct Chogin Kinki Credit Union. The property’s foreclosure history dates back several years earlier. In 2015, a Kyoto-based real estate company petitioned for foreclosure, with the court filing the proceedings in November of that year. The creditor withdrew the auction filing in March 2018. City property taxes are also owing to Kyoto City.

The court valuation for the building and land is set at 435 million Yen, with the minimum acceptable bid set at 348 million Yen (approx. US$3.2 million).

Back in 2013, Chongryon’s headquarters in Tokyo was put up for foreclosure auction. After several false starts, it ended up being sold for 2.2 billion Yen to a mystery buyer who then flipped it for 4.4 billion Yen to its current owner.

The Kyoto Shimbun, January 29, 2020.
NHK, January 29, 2020.

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The post Chongryon branch in Kyoto up for foreclosure appeared first on JAPAN PROPERTY CENTRAL.

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Japan gambles on casinos to fix its economic woes

Visitors play pachinko, a Japanese form of legal gambling, at a pachinko parlour in Fukushima, Japan, 24 May 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato).

Authors: Naoko Takiguchi, Otani University and Yuko Kawanishi, JF Oberlin University

By the end of the 2020s, large-scale casinos will arrive in Japan where gambling is strictly prohibited by law and not favoured in opinion polls. There is concern that casinos will increase gambling addiction and criminal activity — but casino supporters loudly advocate their potential power to revitalise Japan’s declining economy.

Amid the heated controversy regarding the establishment of the casino business, a political scandal erupted. Tsukasa Akimoto — a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) — was arrested for accepting a bribe from a Chinese company seeking to gain entry to the integrated resort market in Japan, although he denies the allegation. Akimoto was a deputy minister in the Cabinet Office from August 2017 to September 2019 and eager to promote the establishment of casinos.

The bribery scandal is fuelling the anger of those opposed to the government’s casino plan. The most recent opinion poll by the Kyodo News agency on 11 and 12 January shows that more than 70 per cent of respondents want the government to re-examine this casino promotion agenda. Opposition parties are urging the casino plan to be completed dropped.

But as the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito dominate both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is confident about getting the casino policies passed — while repeating he would do so ‘conscientiously’.

Is such an important issue going to be passed without a thorough analysis?

The Japanese government has long avoided fundamental debate regarding the legitimacy of gambling. Japan has never had gambling policies. Even today, comprehensive gambling policies do not exist. Articles 185 and 186 in the Japanese Penal Code state ‘a person who gambles shall be punished by a fine …continue reading


Business must brace for the new national security economy

Workers transport goods on a truck near a cargo ship at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China 13 September, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

Author: Brad Glosserman, Tama University

Relations between the United States and China will continue to deteriorate despite the phase one trade deal signed in January 2020. The mood, at least among US elites, has shifted. A former White House official recently identified two schools of China policy: hardline and ultra-hardline. Significantly, the dividing lines are not between political parties but within them.

Businesses must rethink standard operating procedures and policies in the wake of intensifying competition between the world’s two leading economies. Executives must prepare for the new national security economy. Regulatory reforms have already begun and managers and decision-makers must be sensitive to this new reality.

The US National Security Strategy published December 2017 identifies a world marked by great power competition. While there will be a military dimension, it will be seen primarily in the economic arena and develop most fiercely in the arena of emerging technologies as the United States competes with China to create the world’s largest innovative economy. During the Cold War, attention was paid to technology leakage with military applications. That concern persists but today governments recognise that the country which dominates the frontiers of new technologies will prevail in the race for global leadership.

Since the United States and China are both deeply embedded in global supply chains, their policies have a profound impact on the behaviour of businesses worldwide. US Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks in October 2018 at the Hudson Institute make it clear that Washington is looking hard at private sector behaviour as it engages China. While US action gets most of the attention, China is also implementing measures to promote indigenous development and insulate its supply chains from political disruption.

The 2019 US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) calls for the identification …continue reading