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Japan tackles problem of unclaimed land bigger than Taiwan

Government panel proposes mandatory registration of heirs, enforced by fines

A narrow road to the deep north: Dilapidated buildings crumble in the northern Japanese town of Gojome. (Photo by Kaoru Yamada)

TOKYO -- Japan's government will seek new rules on real estate registration as it comes to grips with a growing expanse of land whose original owner has died, a problem that will only worsen as the population ages, Nikkei has learned.

Japan had an estimated 4.1 million hectares of unclaimed land in 2016 -- an area larger than Taiwan and Japan's own southwestern island of Kyushu.

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