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Apr 8, 2013

[Gendai Net] Will Water in Tokyo Metropolitan Area Disappear?


Human beings are freely selling and buying forests nurtured by fairies.  If there should be democracy established by all living beings on earth, probably it would be an unforgivable act.

Masatoshi Takeshita
April 1, 2013
  
Photo: Wikimedia

English translation of a Japanese article: “Hibi Tantan” Document Blog - March 30, 2013 –


Will Water in Tokyo Metropolitan Area Disappear?

Water Resources Bought Up by Foreign Capital One After Another

As the forests in the country have been bought up by foreign capital, water of the Tokyo Metropolitan area is in danger.  Although Prime Minister Abe spoke about the protection of water resources in the Diet, he has not taken any measures yet.

According to the Forest Agency, at least 760 hectares of forest have been bought up by foreign companies (at the end of fiscal year 2011).

However, “this is just the tip of the iceberg,” which is a warning of Mr Junji Hashimoto, the author of “Groundwater in Japan in Danger,” who is familiar with the water problem.

There are some cases in which forests are actually controlled by Chinese companies under the names of Japanese.  It is safe to say that at a moderate estimate 1,000 hectares of forest have been bought up by them.  Forestland is cheap, 500,000 JPY per hectare.  And sale and purchase of forestland is allowed even to a foreigner without any regulations.  The forestland in the Metropolitan area has been eroded.  It is known that the two cases in Hakone have been bought up by an individual and a corporation (both of Chinese nationals), one case in Chichibu, upper reach of the Arakawa river, Saitama, and three cases in Gunma, upper reach of the Tone river have been bought up by foreign capital.

It was not until 2011 that these problems were brought to light.  A Singaporean bought 44 hectares of land with water right in Tsumagoi village, Gunma Prefecture.  As the purchase of the land was registered to the local town, the residents, who were worried about water shortage, responded strongly against it.

People living in the Metropolitan area cannot feel secure because the upper reaches of the Arakawa and the Tone rivers have actually been bought up.  There is no guarantee that water will never be bought up and reservoirs will never dry up.

“Some local governments in Kanto have been taking measures to protect reservoirs by establishing regulations.  The revised Forest Ac was established in April 2012.  The Act stipulates that any transaction in land, regardless of area, should be notified to the governor within 90 days.  This will help grasp the situation, but the report after notification cannot work as a brake against buyout of forestland.  However, if a landowner insists on property right, there is nothing to object to it.” (Comment by Mr. Hashimoto)

We have no other choice but to promptly take measures.

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