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Japan's land prices climb for fourth year, aided by tourism

Increase slows in big cities while residential prices elsewhere turn up

Condominiums sit at the foot of a mountain known for skiing in Kutchan, Hokkaido Prefecture. The town's land prices grew the fastest in Japan thanks to an influx of overseas skiers.

TOKYO -- Popular tourist destinations helped lift Japan's official land prices by 1.2% as tracked on Jan. 1 for a fourth straight annual increase.

Commercial real estate prices nationwide gained 2.8%, beating the 1.9% increase the prior year, land ministry data released on Tuesday shows. The three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka jumped 5.1%, their greatest growth since the 2008 financial crisis. The value of all real estate nationwide returned to 40% of its peak before the country's property bubble burst in 1991.

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