While some regional districts in Japan are suffering from an ageing and shrinking population, urban centers are struggling with the growing pains from an increase in the number of younger residents. In an attempt to limit the number of children in the ward, Koto in Tokyo is introducing restrictions on the development of family-type apartments. A surge in the population of young families, due in part to a boom in the construction of high-rise apartment towers in the Tokyo bayside area, is putting a strain on the ward’s nurseries and elementary schools.
The ordinance would obligate real estate developers to limit the number of family-type apartments to no more than 80% of the total apartments in the building. There will also be a requirement to have a share of apartments over 90 sqm (968 sq.ft) to appeal to multi-generation households (eg. where the grandparents, parents and children live under the same roof). The ordinance will go into effect from October 1, 2018, and will apply to buildings developed from this date onwards that contain over 151 apartments.
The ordinance defines a family-type apartment as one with a floor size of over 40 sqm (430 sq.ft).
As at January 2018, Koto-ku had 66,000 residents aged between 0 ~ 14. It is expected to reach 73,000 by 2029, a 74% increase from 1999. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, Koto-ku ranks only second to Setagaya-ku in terms of a shortage of spaces for nursery schools, with a waiting list of 1,709 children.
Neighboring Chuo-ku is also suffering from a rapid rise in population and is planning to abolish floor-space ratio allowances that were introduced 25 years ago. The ward’s population has doubled since the 1990s.
The Nikkei Shimbun, March 28, 2018.
The Mainichi Shimbun, March 28, 2018.