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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 14 - 20  > Civil groups in symposium criticize sale of Tokyo-owned land at bargain basement prices
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2018 February 14 - 20 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Civil groups in symposium criticize sale of Tokyo-owned land at bargain basement prices

February 18 &19, 2018
Civil groups in Tokyo on February 17 held a symposium concerning the Tokyo Metropolitan government sale of metropolitan land to a group of real estate companies at an extremely low price using the construction of the Olympic village for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games as a pretext.

The prime land in question comprises an area of 13.4 hectares and is located only 3.5 km away from Tokyo Station, the heart of the metropolis. Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko in December 2016 approved the selling of this land to a group of eleven real estate agencies, including Mitsui Fudosan, Sumitomo Realty & Development, and Mitsubishi Jisho Residence at the price of 13 billion yen or less than 100,000 yen per square meter, one-tenth of the land prices in the immediate area. The development companies’ group will construct high-rise condominiums there and the metropolitan government will use the condos as an Olympic village during the 2020 Summer Games. After the sporting event ends, the companies will make some renovations and then sell the high-end condominiums to relatively wealthy buyers.

One of the symposium organizers in August 2017 started a court battle against the metropolitan government, claiming that the 90% discounted sale is illegal. The group demands that the metropolitan government urge Governor Koike Yuriko and her immediate predecessor to pay for the lost revenue.

In the symposium held in Tokyo, Ichikawa Takao, the secretary general of the Tokyo citizens’ group carrying out the legal action against the Tokyo government, said that the lawsuit will provide Tokyoites with a good opportunity to become aware of the illegality of the 90% discount of their common property and the corruption behind the discount deal.

Endo Tetsuhito, the secretary general of an organization working to promote residents-oriented urban development, said that the land deal in question is evidently a case of preferential treatment to private developers under the guise of preparing for the Olympics.

Senshu University Professor Shirafuji Hiroyuki cited a Local Autonomy Act provision stipulating that residents can sue municipal governments, adding that this is one way to impact local politics. He said that it is meaningful for citizens to address local governments’ problematic dealings with legal action.

Past related articles:
> Tokyoites: 90%-discount sale of Tokyo-owned land is illegal [August 18, 2017]
> Firms constructing 2020 Olympic village offer golden parachutes to Tokyo gov’t officials [March 14, 2017]
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