- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

TOKYO (AP) — Average land prices in Tokyo rose this year — the first time in at least 13 years — Japan’s tax agency said yesterday, signaling a turnaround in a property value slide that began in the early 1990s with the collapse of the nation’s speculative bubble.

Land along selected streets in the sprawling capital edged up 0.4 percent from 2004 to $4,107 per square yard as of Jan. 1, the National Tax Agency said. The survey monitors land prices only, not real estate, which includes buildings.

This year marks the first time average land prices in Tokyo have risen since the agency began measuring them in 1992.

Agency officials refused to speculate on the cause of the gain, but it comes amid signs that Japan’s economy may be emerging from more than 10 years of inconsistent growth. The jobless rate in June fell to 4.2 percent, its lowest in seven years, while industrial output rose 1.5 percent.

The land price trend, however, was limited to Tokyo. Nationwide, land prices fell for the 13th straight year to the equivalent of $1,000.

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