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Japan to keep urban farmland green with new incentives

New tax and leasing incentives will help keep “productive greenspace” under cultivation.

Flexible leasing system will help connect businesses, nonprofits with available land

Nikkei Asian Review
Sept 6, 2017


TOKYO — Japan is planning tax incentives and changes to the way land is leased to keep urban farmland from being turned into housing as a current program nears expiration and more farmers retire without apparent successors.

Starting in 1992, Japan designated roughly 13,000 hectares of urban land nationwide, and around 3,200 hectares in Tokyo, as “productive green space,” offering 30 years of tax incentives to those who would use the land for agricultural purposes. In 2022, those incentives will expire for roughly 80% of the land in the program.

Owners have the option of continuing to use the plots for 10 years or asking municipalities to buy back their land. In fact, sales of plots in the program are already increasing as farmers reach retirement age. In cities such as Tokyo, there is growing concern that mass conversion of this land to residential property could sink property values.

The agricultural and land ministries are therefore encouraging landowners to either continue farming their land or lease it to businesses or nonprofits that will. Those who inherit land employed in this way will be able to defer paying inheritance tax until the land is sold or converted for non-agricultural use.

Read the complete article here.