Monthly Archives

August 2020

Forests in Japan

By | Japan Culture

(The  Land of Golden Ears of Rice/ Japan  photo by Fukai)

Mountainous area account for 70 percent of Japan. Urban areas like Tokyo or Osaka are mere fractions. Much of this country is still covered by a forest now.

There are few treeless mountains in Japan. Everywhere in Europe there are treeless bald mountains, and on top of that every European tree is very poor. On the other hand everywhere in Japan there are a lot of huge trees.

There are huge trees on the mountains and there are rivers from the mountains. In the lower part of rivers there are an abundant crop of rice field.

In Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples there is a giant tree without exception. Please visit Koyasan in Wakayama prefecture.

If you visit Koyasan, I think  you could find the most wonderful thing in Japan. The forest is the object of worship for Japanese. So Japanese feel fearful of the forest.

(Photo: a pilgrimage walk to Koyasan by Fukai)

(Photo: Koyasan by Fukai)

Rainforests are being destroyed at an increasingly fast pace. In 2050 all 100% tropical rain forests over the world will be exterminated.

I walked all 1400 km where Priest Kobo Daishi walked 1,000 years ago. It was  the pleasurable time of my life.

On the one hand Japan pursued rapid industrialization, but on the other Japan has a historical culture that people protect forests.

Please actually experience and enjoy Japanese beautiful culture in Japan.

Realtors shall explain about the risk of Flood damage

By | Property

Japanese government decided to make the explanation of a risk of flood damage compulsory from this August 2020. Realtors shall analyse the risk and report it for customers.

In fact these past years abnormal weather increases all over the word.

In 2018 there was a large scale rainfall in west Japan. The above photo (Kyodo) is Okayama prefecture then. The heavy rain caused the river to overflow its banks. Its damage was not only one day. The houses flooded below the floor continued over one month.

I feel there were a lot of rainfall recent years in Osaka, too.

According to a UN report the frequency of abnormal weather is increasing with the years. It is very likely that heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.

(Photo by weather news) West Japan torrential rain in 2018
(purple) above waist
(red) above knee
(yellow) above ankle
(blue) a big rain puddle

(Photo: Yomiuri)

In case an individual house may be flooded above the floor. So a property had better be located on elevated ground. Otherwise a house is build on a ground raised by a stone wall like the house below.

In case an apartment when the elevator is flooded and stopped, the upper units of a high rise building will be cut off.

(Photo: Osaka city government’s flood hazard map)

I think Japanese government made the right decision.

After this house hunters should think about the risk of flood damage and realtors shall analyse and report for clients.

Dojimagawa Urbanlife ~top-tire apartment in Osaka City

By | Real Estate

This apartment is the top-tire apartment in Osaka City. The building was built in 1992 and the price was over 8 hundred yen (8 million US dollars) at that time. The building is 14 story, not so big building., however, every part of this apartment is designed by special specifications.

Address: 3-1-48, Fukushima, Fukushima-ku, Osaka City

Plan: 5 bedrooms + 3 bathrooms + 4 toilets
Area: 347.20㎡
Station :10 minutes walk from JR Fukushima station
Structure:Ferro-concrete & Steel frame 14 story (13th floor)
Completion :1992
Reikin: 2 months rent
Shikikin: 3 months rent

There are 3 bathrooms and 4 separated toilets. These are enough to accommodate guests.

There are 2 dining rooms. One is for an official dinning with guests and another dinning room can be used for a family.  The big dinning room is connected to the spacious living room which is perfect for reception with a great many people.

(Small dinning room for a family)

The spacious living room and the master bedroom are facing to the Dojima river. It is very quiet and nice night view.

The view from a living room is Royal Hotel and International convention building.  There is a promenade for walking or jogging along the river. It is close to good quality food supermarkets.

The coronavirus makes people leave high rise tower apartments because of a crowded elevator. Dojimagwa Urbanlife is a smaller scale of building, and so  people can stay without anxiety.

“Nakanoshima” has a tradition of Osaka.  There were many leading men in the Japanese history. If you live here for a while, you will be sure to feel the graceful nature of the locality.

Conflicts of interests ~exclusively for foreign expats

By | Japan Culture, Real Estate

One of a real estate agent services is a property management.

(A) A property management is that a real estate agent  receives a commission from a building owner and manage the owner’s apartment or house. The real estate agent maintains the building and must attract tenant customers. That is, a property management is a service for owners.

(B) On the other hand a real estate agent receives a request from foreign expats and search for the most suitable apartment or house for the foreign expats. In this case the real estate agent must stand on the foreign expats’ side. That is, searching for an apartment or house is a service for foreign expats.

These two services (A)(B) are mutually exclusive.

“Conflict of interests” is a popular legal term in the United States.
However Japanese do not understand clearly the legal concept of this word “Conflict of interests”

When a creditor and a debtor contend at law, a lawyer for a creditor work for the creditor and a lawyer for a debtor work for the debtor. There are two different lawyers in charge for different interests. If a lawyer for a creditor is the same person as a lawyer for a debtor, there is no doubt that it is illegal because of “Conflict of interests”.

Therefore foreign expats should not trust a real estate agent who receives a commission from owners.



The Period of a Contract~Tenants can cancel anytime in Japan

By | Real Estate

The period is set in a lease contract.
Most foreigners believe that the lease contract cannot be cancelled during the period which is sent by the term of a contract. That is, most foreigners think they must pay the monthly rent until the expiry of their contract.

In general Japanese lease contact for residences set the lease term as two years. However in fact tenants can cancel a lease contract anytime even during the execution of a contract. Tenants must notify the cancellation to the owner one month in advance. Then tenants can terminate their payment of the monthly rent anytime.

Nevertheless a real estate agent in Kobe who is dealing with foreign expats explain to its foreign customers that Japanese lease contract cannot be cancelled during the period of the lease contract. Since foreign expats are hard to find out Japanese laws, foreign customers believe that they must keep their lease contract until the end of the lease.

It is crooked means that the real estate agent makes foreign tenants not to leave their property, but there still are foul play by Japanese real estate agent for many years.

Any Japanese lawyer or realtor easily understands this legal sense. So please be careful with an underhanded real estate agent and ask someone with experience in real estate business.

Corporate Contract or Individual Contract

By | Real Estate

Written by Masahiro Fukai , US CPA/ Realtor

Corporate lease contract can reduce tax of both a company and its employees. If a company wants to retain good staff, the company should consider a cooperate lease contract as company housing for staffs.

In case of a cooperate lease contract the following taxes can be reduced.

(For employees)
(1) Withholding tax (Gensenchoshuzei)
Withholding tax is a national tax which is deducted from monthly salary. Since a company pays the monthly rent to the owner, his salary would be decreased. So the withholding tax is reduced.

(2) Local income tax (Juminzei)
Local income tax is also an item which is deducted from monthly salary. In the same way as the above withholding tax, local income tax is also reduced.

(3) Contribution to social insurance (Shakaihokenryou)
The main contributions to social insurance in Japan are ①Health insurance tax (Kenko Hokenryou), ②Employee pension premium(Koseinenkin hokenryou).

(For companies)
(4) Corporate Tax
Since companies pay monthly rent for employees, the expense of income statement will increase. So the corporate tax decreases.

On the other hand in case a company provides housing allowance to employees, the total amount of salary increases. Therefore the above (1) (2) (3) increase.

Corporate lease contract demands nothing. The only one thing is the firm’s accounting workload. However it is not so hard work. Whether or not a company can deal with a corporate lease contract and reduce taxes is essentially a matter of practice.

By adopting a corporate lease contract the firms can enhance the satisfaction level of their employees and so they would always lure high quality people.