January 17, 2022
Akiya, vacant and often abandoned houses, are one of the side effects of one Japan’s aging society. These empty and frequently dilapidated family homes are found all over Japan and Hiroshima is no exception. Recent figures estimate that there are 73,000 vacant homes in Hiroshima City alone.
It is difficult under Japanese law to compel absentee owners (or descendants of owners) to take maintain these houses, even when they become eyesores or unsafe. Today, however, the first compulsory demolition of an abandoned house in Hiroshima City began in Higashi-ku today.
The 2-story house is perched on the side of a steep hillside in Higashi-ku’s Ushita area. The 58-year-old property has been empty for at least 15 years, and was leaning heavily and part of its walls broke away and fell onto the road below in April last year.
Hiroshima City government designated the property as a specially designated vacant house under the 2015 Vacant Houses Special Measures Act last year and instructed the owner to either repair or remove the building. However, it has been judged that the risk of collapse outweighed the rights of the owner.
Administrative subrogation of the property was declared on the morning of January 17 and demolition is expected to be completed by mid-March. According to news reports the owner will be liable for the ¥5,200,000 cost of the demolition and removal.
There are estimated to be 73,000 vacant homes in Hiroshima City alone and around 215,600 vacant homes across the whole prefecture.