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Japan Property Investment For Sale

 

"The Japanese future is still blighted by fear of tsunamis."

 

With its long imperial history, fine cuisine, distinctive art and samurai culture and well educated and industrious workforce plus its modern, urban and overcrowded capital, Tokyo, Japan continues to fascinate the world. 

Located on the Northern Asia-Pacific region, is it part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which makes it highly venerable to earthquakes and tsunamis – some of which have had devastating effects on the population and economy.

Saying that, Japan is one of the economic and political superpowers of the world, the fourth largest exporter and the fourth largest importer with strong banking, telecommunications, electronics, automobile and machinery industries.  This small country also has a large population of 127 million and due to its mountainous interior a shortage of land in which to house its population meaning its cities are overcrowded and real estate is at a premium.

The Japanese economy has continually stalled over the last decade and has been seriously affected by its neighbour China – Japan’s largest export market.  If China’s growth slows down, so does Japan’s.  Another unhelpful factor is the strength of the Japanese yen which has continually eroded it’s export competitiveness.

As the economy struggles so have both house prices and rental returns dropped.  House prices are now at a level considerably lower than when the sub-prime crisis hit the world.
 

Country Guide

Geography

Japan is a mountainous country with 70% of the country covered by hills and mountains, some of which are active volcanoes. Japan is made up of a series of islands with four main islands and several smaller ones. The main islands include Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Japan is in a key location for both minor and major earthquakes which can also trigger volcanoes to erupt and tsunamis to form; therefore buildings are constructed to sustain the possibility of this happening. Tokyo is the country's capital and the main commercial and business centre.

Government

The government in Japan is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. The National Diet of Japan consists of two houses, the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. The House of Representatives, the more powerful house, performs legislative functions and, if necessary, has the power to override decisions made by the House of Councillors. 

Language

Japanese is the official language in Japan; in Tokyo a minority of people speaks English.

Standard of Living

The majority of Japanese people consider themselves to have a relatively high standard of living. Tokyo is still one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in although the scale of expense in Japan compared to other cities is a lot less than it used to be. 

 

 

Country Economy

Japan is one of the largest economies in the world - the world's fourth largest importer and exporter in the world.   A well educated and industrialised workforce and close networks of manufacturers, suppliers and distributors contribute to the success of the economy.  Unfortunately as China is Japa's largest export market, the Japanese economy can be seriously affected by trade with their large and powerful neighbour.

Key Industries: 

Transport equipment, motor vehicles, semi conductors, electrical machinery, chemicals.

 

Hotspots

Tokyo

Buzzing with life and commercial activity, Tokyo is one of the world's great cities offering an urban environment that many find simultaneously exciting and alienating. However, among the high-rise, neon-clad commercial and residential properties, the city still has pockets where Japan's traditions are celebrated – temples, tea houses and gardens still play a large role in Japanese culture. For many years Tokyo was the most expensive city in which to own property and it still remains near the top of the rankings, despite having seen such a long recession. 

The city is broken down into nine districts, each encompassing several distinct areas. The Shinjuku district is popular for its excellent transport links, large public gardens and areas that offer a more traditional feel. On the border of the Shinjuku and Chiyoda districts are Yotsuya, Ichigaya, Iidabashi, all locations that Western residents aim for, due to the foreign language schools.  

Other areas with overseas schools include residential Meguru and Minato, one of the most expensive and sought-after central areas to own property.  Minato is home to a cosmopolitan mix of shops, businesses and leisure facilities, many of the latter in the notorious Rappongi district where hotels and bars jostle for space with new apartment developments aimed at a young population.

Within the Meguru district are the fashionable suburbs of Daikanyama, Ebisu and Nakameguro, places that appear to be attracting a hip, young population. The more established suburbs of Shinagawa and Osaki may offer good prospects for those seeking more affordable property with good transport connections and amenities such as parks, schools and low-key shopping areas that appeal to families. Similarly, the district of Western Setagaya is also somewhere families seek out for access to larger, more family-sized property with easy access to the city. 

Osaka

The second largest city in Japan, Osaka is a busy commercial and industrial hub.  The city was recently listed as the eighth most expensive in which to live. All commercial sectors in Osaka, including retail and industrial property, was earmarked as offering potential, while residential property was something to buy and hold for the long-term.

This is partly due to a huge decrease in the price of commercial land during the crash, which saw a drop of around 79%, with residential land prices falling by 55%. Prices still have not climbed back to their former level and overseas investment institutions have moved in, buying up large areas and sparking a boom in development. The falling prices have also attracted people back to the city in search of more affordable accommodation. A relaxation in building restrictions on residential property has also increased the amount of apartments now available.

Ski resorts

Japan has 650 ski resorts with a long snow season lasting from November until early May. Snow is reliable and often deep and attracts tourists from a large catchment area including China, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia. The best known area is Hokkaido where a large number of resorts are undergoing regeneration. Property in this region is a mix of old chalets in need of restoration and new-build property, mainly apartments.

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