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Japan's abandoned homes to undergo bigger effort for new lease on life

Government panel recommends scaling up land banks nationwide

Vacant property is a burden on parts of Japan beset by population decline, such as former coal boomtown Yubari in Hokkaido. 

TOKYO/KAMINOYAMA, Japan -- As abandoned homes and land multiply like mushrooms nationwide, Japanese policymakers seek to scale up a potential solution that has shown promise at the local level.

A government expert panel issued Monday a report recommending the use of land banks, which collect vacant or underused properties into pools that can be tapped for big redevelopment projects, such as widening roads.

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