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Island row dulls China land grab fears in Japan

Published on Nov 27, 2012 1:31 PM
 
In a picture taken on July 10, 2012, president Hideyuki Ishii of Japanese real estate company Hokkaido Style stands before a land for sale sign at Niseko town mountain resort in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. A spat over disputed islands has put a damper on Chinese sales of Japanese products from cars to cosmetics, but there is relief in one market at a fall-off of foreign buyers - real estate. -- PHOTO: AFP

KUTCHAN, Japan (AFP) - A spat over disputed islands has put a damper on Chinese sales of Japanese products from cars to cosmetics, but there is relief in one market at a fall-off of foreign buyers - real estate.

The chance to own land in Japan's beautiful mountain wilderness of Hokkaido has proved a real draw for moneyed Chinese, but there are local fears over what some see as a land grab targeting forests and water sources.

The backlash started in 2010, when a Chinese woman was quoted by local media as saying: "What's arresting about Japanese land is that it has water."

Broadcasters jumped on the issue, running stories that talked of how Chinese money was "targeting Japanese water" and buyers were "trying to conquer Hokkaido."

 
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