Details of the Initiative

The problem of vacant houses is occurring in depopulating cities in the world (Photo (1) (2)). The reasons for vacant houses vary from country to country, but in Japan, where the number of nuclear families has increased, there are few cases where people live in their parents’ house that they inherited as in the past, and many cases where they just leave the house empty. As time goes on, not only will vacant houses continue to deteriorate (Photo (3)), but the number of owners will increase and become unknown owing to successions, which makes it even more difficult to utilize and distribute vacant houses.

Increase in the number of vacant houses in an area not only accelerates depopulation, but also reduces the attractiveness and value of the town, which could impose a heavy burden on the next generation.

Therefore, at the present time, it is essential to consider owner-occupied houses that only elderly people live in as a potential vacant houses and to ensure that the owners and their prospective inheritors smoothly hand over their houses to responsible owners and users from the stage before inheritance so that a so-called “preparatory action to hand over a house to a responsible owner” is established in society.

The author conducts research and social contribution activities related to this action to hand over a house to a responsible owner as well as education on these policies. For example, using the Information Notebook to take over your house” (Photo (4)) that the author created, we are promoting dissemination activities in various regions in cooperation with local governments, private companies, NPOs, etc.

(1) A vacant house in Detroit, USA (photo taken by the author in 2018) In 2013, the virtual financial collapse caused a large number of vacant houses. A spate of arson, theft and destruction of vacant houses accelerated the deterioration of public safety in the area as well as the deterioration of vacant houses. (In recent years, vacant houses have been dismantled, resulting in many vacant lots.)
(2) A vacant house in Leipzig, Germany, with boards to prevent windows from being broken and suspicious persons from entering (photo taken by the author in 2017) After 10 years since the reunification of East and West Germany, the population sharply reduced by about 100,000, leaving many apartment buildings vacant. (In recent years, the use of vacant houses has been progressing and the population has also started to increase.)
(3) A vacant house within the 23 wards of Tokyo (photo taken by the author in 2019) It is in a good location and available for sale, but it has been left untouched and continued to deteriorate. As there is a danger of the concrete-block walls collapsing, local governments have installed color traffic cones to attract attention, and the bus stop has been moved, which generated a negative impact on surroundings.
(4) Information Notebook to take over your house created by the author, which is included in my book “Oita Ie Otoroenu Machi ? Sumai o Shukatsu suru” (Old Houses and Revitalizing Cities ? Action to Hand Over a House to a Responsible Owner) (Kodansha Gendai Shinsho) published in December 2018. Using this notebook, the number of residents’ associations, community development organizations, local governments, and private companies that actually engage in the action to hand over a house to a responsible owner is increasing.