As Japan’s society ages and urbanises, the effects are being seen in buildings and communities being abandoned.
The Japan Times reports on how the nation is now becoming a magnet for urban explorers discovering what lies insides abandoned homes, hospitals, hotels and theme parks.
Many of the abandoned tourist attractions are legacies of the 1980s economic boom that saw a massive over-investment in property plays. With a shrinking population, those facilities were always doomed but in a growing society, there would have been economic reasons for redeveloping them.
In Japan though, those economic drivers don’t exist in much of the country as the Japan Times explains.
“Japan is in some sense uniquely blessed as a land of ruins. Its rapidly aging population, low birth rate, urbanization and lack of immigration have left a legacy of ghost towns and more than 8 million abandoned homes, or akiya. That tally could hit 21.5 million, one-third of all residences nationwide, by 2033, according to the Nomura Research Institute.”
Japan is the first of many nations that will face the consequences of an aging population, what they do will be a lesson to all of those who follow. Of those, China will probably the biggest experiment.
One big lesson is property demand changes and once valuable assets don’t necessarily hold their value in the face of a societal shift.