The way it is

The Asahi Shimbun just published statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications regarding Japanese housing. The ministry surveys the housing situation every five years and found that as of October last year there was a total of 57.59 million residences in Japan, 7.56 million–or 13.1 percent–of which were vacant.

The vacancy rate in the three main metropolitan areas was 12.1 percent while in all other areas it was 14.3 percent. The vacancy rate is rising due to the aging population, says the ministry: old people living alone in depopulated rural areas are moving into hospitals or old age facilities, leaving their homes empty and unsold.

In other statistics, 41.7 percent of all residences are condos or apartments. There was a 30 percent increase in the number of residential buildings with more than eleven floors and a 70 percent increase in the number of buildings with more than 15 floors. Home ownership remained the same at 61.2 percent, and the average size of an owned property was 120.89 square meters, thus marking the first time since the survey started in 1948 that floor area has gone down.

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