住宅政策改革と大都市圏居住の変容に関する予察 : 東京大都市圏を中心に [in Japanese] Reformation of the Japanese Housing Policy and its Influence on Metropolitan Housing : Implications for the Tokyo Metropolitan Area [in Japanese]
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Public housing, the Japan Housing Corporation, and the Housing Loan Corporation have been the three main institutions of Japan's housing policy since the end of World War II. Each of these institutions has experienced a major change since the late 1990s. Although they have all contributed to raise the national housing standard, a specific housing policy has been targeted for a specific social stratum, thus, leading to the establishment of different housing classes. The purpose of this paper is to present the facts regarding the reformation of Japan's housing policy and to investigate its influence that is observed in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The Japanese government tightened the qualification for public housing applicants by revising the Public housing law in 1996. Nevertheless, owing to the period of prolonged recession, the number of candidates applying for public housing has been increasing. Public houses are unevenly distributed throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area. Moreover, the turnover rate of dwellers is uneven; it is lower in the downtown area than in the suburbs. These facts engender the regional disparities between the supply of and demand for public houses. The 1996 revision enabled the conversion of sites that were reserved for public housing to be used for commercial purposes. This was carried out under the banner of "Urban Renaissance" and can result in aggravating the problem of the spatial mismatch of public houses. Previously, dwellers complained about the remote location, expensive rent, and narrow living space; however, statistical investigations reveal that the Japan Housing Corporation has been supplying relatively good residences. This is also affirmed by the good performance of the rental house business of the Japan Housing Corporation. The Japan Housing Corporation has reformed to become the Urban Renaissance Agency, which focuses mainly on urban development and no longer manages the supply of new housing units. Moreover, the supply of rental housing by the private sector has been insufficient thus far. The introduction of the fixed period tenancy does not improve this situation. The housing stocks provided by the Japan Housing Corporation are still extremely significant for the people. After the burst of the economic bubble, the Housing Loan Corporation scaled up the amount of loan. As a consequence, the metropolitan areas have witnessed a boom in the market for owner occupied houses. This is a rare and important rising market in an otherwise slumping Japanese economy. Consequently, people choose to buy an owner occupied house loaned by the Housing Loan Corporation since the supply of rental houses is limited and the rent is relatively high. Thus, the abolition of the Housing Loan Corporation reduces the opportunity for a person to become an owner occupier and can prove to be a bad influence on the Japanese economy. The Japanese housing policy has been criticized for establishing the housing classes that correspond to the three main institutions mentioned above, but cover almost all Japanese people as the intended policy target. As a result of the reformation, the supply of residences and housing loans has been entrusted to the private sector. It is troublesome to note that these changes effectively increase the gap between those who can afford to live in a good residence and those who can not and thus establish a new housing class altogether.
- Annals of the Association of Economic Geographers
Annals of the Association of Economic Geographers 52(1), 1-18, 2006
The Japan Association of Economic Geography