Office vacancies increase for 13th month, Tokyo Midtown Yaesu to open in 2022, and 98 islands identified for foreigner-transaction reporting requirements. Below is a quick weekly summary of some of the recent goings-on in the Japanese real estate market.

Office vacancies increase for 13th month

According to Miki Shoji, the average vacancy rate in Tokyo’s central five business districts reached 5.42% in March, up 0.18 points from February and 3.92 points from March 2020. This is the 13th month in a row to see a month-on-month increase. Minato ward had the highest vacancy rate, hitting 7.30%, up 0.42 points from the previous month and up 5.6 points from last year. Chiyoda ward had the lowest at 3.85%, showing no change from February. Shibuya was the only district to see vacancy rates fall slightly, with a  0.06 point drop to 5.49%. The average monthly rent across the five wards was 21,541 Yen per Tsubo (6,517 Yen/sqm), down 4.7% from March 2020. In Shibuya, rents were down 7.7% from last year.

Tokyo Midtown Yaesu to open in 2022

Developer Mitsui Fudosan will complete their Tokyo Midtown Yaesu commercial tower on the eastern side of Tokyo Station in August 2022. This will be the third ‘Tokyo Midtown’ branded development in the city after Roppongi and Hibiya. The 240-meter tall, 45-story high-rise will have the Bulgari Hotel Tokyo on floors 39 ~ 45, and the Chuo Ward Joto Elementary School on floors 1 ~ 4. The Bulgari Hotel is the first of its kind in Japan. Floors 7 ~ 38 will have office space with a floor plate of 4,000 sqm – the largest around the Tokyo Station area. Office workers will have touch-free access via face recognition systems, automatic elevator guidance, and hologram buttons when visiting other office floors. Escalator handrails will have in-built UV irradiation to kill viruses and bacteria. Office and elevator air conditioning systems will have antibacterial filters. The total building size is 289,750 sqm.

Government identifies 98 islands for foreigner-transaction reporting requirement 

The national government has identified 98 islands that would require advance notice prior to the sale of land to foreigners, if proposed legislation is approved. These locations include remote islands near national borders and land within one kilometer of defense facilities. The main island of Okinawa is included, along with 39 uninhabited islands. However, Okinawa as well as land in the vicinity of the Ministry of Defense in Shinjuku, Tokyo, might be exempt from the advance notice requirement.