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Japan to put idle state-owned land to work with leases

Finance Ministry moves away from selling to keep options open

Japan's Finance Ministry has slashed its holdings of unused land over the past two decades, but it earns relatively little from the plots it still owns. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

TOKYO -- Japan's Finance Ministry will switch from selling unused government-owned land to leasing it out, helping to put lots to productive use and bring in rental income without loss of ownership.

The government will permit these parcels to be leased via fixed-term agreements for educational and nursing-care facilities -- of which the country has a chronic shortage -- as well as commercial use, hoping to encourage a competitive bidding process.

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