OSAKA -- Photo album giant Nakabayashi and home remodeler Sanyo Amnak will become the first businesses to buy Japanese farmland under a new strategic zone regulation aimed at raising agricultural productivity.
Companies engaging in farming usually must lease land from farmers or buy it in joint ventures with them, with the stake capped at less than 50%. A revamped rule that took effect Sept. 1 in Yabu, Hyogo Prefecture, allows for making direct purchases and taking majority stakes over a five-year period.
A local unit of Nakabayashi grows garlic on roughly 4.5 hectares of leased land to supplement core business during the off-peak season. The unit will purchase about 1 hectare of this land. The step is seen facilitating soil improvement and trials aimed at developing new crops.
Sanyo Amnak will raise its stake in a joint venture to purchase land and build rice-polishing facilities there.
The two are already negotiating with landowners, and the transactions are seen closing as early as this year.