Foreign buyers slam brakes on Japanese real estate deals
Nikkei -- Jan 27
Japan's once-buoyant real estate market has seen a sharp pullback in foreign buying, sending property deals falling by a third in the second half of 2018.

Property transactions declined 34% on the year to a six-year low of 1.72 trillion yen ($15.78 billion) in the six months ended December, according to the Tokyo-based Urban Research Institute.

Foreign buying, which made up more than 30% of all transactions a year earlier, tumbled 90% on the year to 91.9 billion yen. Relatively low prices had made Japanese real estate an attractive asset compared with property on other markets, but that perception has changed.

"We haven't been able to buy very many properties recently," said an executive at the Japanese arm of a U.S.-based real estate fund. The number of properties on the Japanese market began to decline in the second half of 2018, and those that were on sale were too pricey, this person said.

A real estate broker reports that Tokyo waterfront condominiums that Chinese investors had bought up aggressively are now up for sale. With China's economy slowing, making the government clamp down tighter for fear of capital outflows, Chinese money appears to ebbing from once-brisk overseas real estate deals.

Japan's property deal drought is particularly noticeable at the high end.

Last year's most expensive purchase, excluding sites for development, was the roughly 150 billion yen acquisition of the Shiba Park Building in Tokyo's Minato Ward by a group of investors. This was well below the big deals seen in 2017, when China's Anbang Insurance Group bought about 200 rental condominium buildings from U.S. investment group Blackstone for roughly 260 billion yen.

News source: Nikkei
Jun 21
Bank of Japan Governor Haruko Kuroda said extra stimulus would be an option if prices refuse to keep rising toward the central bank's 2% inflation target. (Nikkei)
Jun 20
Japan has posted a trade deficit for the first time in four months. The shortfall comes as shipments to China and other Asian economies plunged. (NHK)
Jun 18
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and supermarket chain Seiyu are starting a drone delivery service for summer visitors to an island off Yokosuka, near Tokyo. (NHK)
Jun 17
The number of private lodgings in Japan has increased eightfold since the law legalizing them took effect a year ago to relieve a shortage of hotel rooms in the wake of the inbound tourism boom, according to data released by the government. (Japan Today)
Jun 17
Japanese manga needs a new superhero. Battered by a shrinking population and changing consumer tastes, the once undisputed champion of the country's pop culture is on the ropes as readership plummets. (Nikkei)
Jun 15
A Japanese firm has shelved an advertising campaign intended to promote gender equity at home after its #beWHITE hashtag sparked concern about racial sensitivities. (Japan Today)
Jun 13
Food delivery staff working in Japan for ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc said Wednesday they plan to form a labor union in a bid to improve what they see as disadvantageous treatment for being classified as independent contractors rather than employees. (Japan Today)
Jun 12
More than 60 percent of women in Japan have experienced the enforcement rules calling for the wearing of heels in the workplace or while job-hunting, or have witnessed others being forced to wear them, according to a survey conducted by a Japanese business website, which also reported the findings Tuesday to a Diet discussion. (Japan Today)
Jun 12
Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, says major companies are planning to trim summer bonuses this year. (NHK)
Jun 12
Japan's leading instant noodle company is joining the fight against pollution. Nissin Food Products says it will redesign its containers to use less petroleum-based products and more so-called bio-plastic, derived from plants. (NHK)