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Tourism boom lifts Japan land prices for first time in 3 decades

Midsize cities like Sapporo, Hiroshima and Fukuoka lead the rise

Niseko, a popular ski resort in Hokkaido, has seen a boom in construction of luxury condominiums rivaling the high-rise apartment buildings in central Tokyo. (Photo by Akiyoshi Inoue)

TOKYO -- Average land prices in Japan grew for the first time in 27 years as growing tourist traffic fed demand for new shops and hotels, signaling that the country is one step closer to escaping decades of deflation.

The price for residential, commercial and industrial land increased 0.1% in the year through July 1, according to an annual survey published Tuesday by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. This is the first positive growth since a 3.1% jump in 1991, right before Japan's asset bubble burst.

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