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Gov’t confirms 700 cases of land purchases near areas of security importance by foreign firms

  • May 14, 2021
  • , Sankei , Lead
  • JMH Translation

The Japanese government has confirmed at least 700 cases of land acquisitions and buyout plans involving foreign firms including Chinese entities from a survey it conducted on land adjacent to facilities critical to national security, such as Self-Defense Forces facilities as well as U.S. military bases. Mainland China and its affiliated government authorities may have been involved in land acquisitions with the intent of monitoring national security developments in Japan. With this possibility in mind, the government ordered relevant agencies to determine the facts. The Sankei learned this from government sources on May 13.


Last year, the government began a survey on land transactions involving foreign capital. The move was aimed at identifying acquisitions involving China-affiliated firms of land located within 10 km from national defense facilities and in outlying border islands. By autumn, it knew that China-affiliated entities were involved in about 80 cases of acquisition of land critical to national security in areas throughout Japan. The government carried out an intensive survey and discovered a total of 700 land purchases involving foreign capital.


According to several government sources, the government confirmed purchases and acquisition plans of land adjacent to SDF and U.S. military bases and facilities owned by the Japan Coast Guard, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and other institutes. These land plots offer a bird’s-eye view of targeted facilities and allow the monitoring of the operations of SDF and USFJ vessels and aircraft as well as personnel there.


In Kanagawa Prefecture, a person who could be affiliated with the Chinese government purchased land next to a U.S. base and erected an apartment building on the plot. It was also found that the person occupies several units in the upper floors from where the entire base can be seen. The U.S. side is reportedly interested in this case. 


In Okinawa Prefecture, a person who is seemingly connected to a Chinese state-run firm approached a local hotel, which can overlook a U.S. military base there, with a buyout offer. This person had initially claimed to belong to a “U.S.-affiliated firm.” In Tottori Prefecture, a land plot adjacent to an SDF base was targeted for acquisition by a group firm affiliated with China.


According to relevant sources, similar transactions were reported on land plots located near radar facilities monitoring the airspace and waters surrounding Japanese territorial and space development facilities. Consequences could become devastating if any disruptions such as electronic jamming occurred.


In the Diet, deliberations are currently underway regarding a bill on the regulation of land use by foreign-affiliated firms. The bill designates areas located within an about 1 km from defense facilities, nuclear power stations, and other key infrastructure as well as outlying border islands as “areas to be monitored” and areas of higher importance as “special areas to be monitored.” These areas are subject to national inspections, and the government can issue recommendations or orders for the cancelation of land purchases if improper use is confirmed. Regarding transactions of land located in special areas to be monitored, the bill stipulates that the identity of both buyers and sellers must be confirmed and the purpose of the land purchase must be submitted in advance.

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