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Foreign tourism, redevelopment send commercial land soaring

TOKYO -- Booming tourism from abroad and a rush of urban redevelopment projects have lifted commercial land prices in Japan's major cities, a phenomenon now hitting regional travel hot spots as well.

     Tokyo's central Ginza district was still home to Japan's most valuable commercial land as of Jan. 1. But commercial property in Osaka's Shinsaibashi shopping district, which draws massive spending by foreign tourists, gained the most value from a year earlier as prices rose 45.1%. Tax-exempt sales at the flagship Daimaru department store there for the year ended in February more than doubled from fiscal 2014. Laox opened one of its largest tax-free locations in the area last month, part of a flood of property investment targeting shoppers from abroad.

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