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Japan to tidy up scattered property records

New system will aim to promote repurposing of idle land

Clarifying ownership will help efforts to make better use of vacant properties, the government hopes.

TOKYO -- Japan intends to make its sprawling government real estate databases more useful by consolidating data to clarify ownership, particularly of the growing number of vacant homes and lots, and encourage sales and redevelopment.

The justice and land ministries each maintain their own property registries, as do municipalities for taxation purposes. Separate records are kept for farmland and forested areas. Real estate companies have their own databases as well. The Ministry of Justice says 230 million plots and 50 million buildings are registered nationwide.

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