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Over 14,000 Leopalace apartments confirmed to have defects after new survey

TOKYO -- More defects have been found in parting walls between apartments and in attics at apartment complexes run by Leopalace21 Corp., bringing the total number of its defective structures to 14,599 as of the end of March, company officials said.

A total of 206 local governments across the country had recognized by last month that 2,949 Leopalace structures had violated the Building Standards Act, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. These figures could increase further.

Leopalace is now examining all 39,085 of its apartment buildings across the country. The company inspected parting walls between rooms and in attics at 20,285 of the structures by the end of last month and found problems with about 70% of them.

In February 2019, the company found that parting walls, ceilings and outer walls at 1,324 buildings in 33 prefectures did not meet the standards for fireproofing and soundproofing, raising suspicions that the structures violated the Building Standards Act.

In the latest examination, which covered all of Leopalace's 52 apartment models, the number of defective apartment complexes sharply increased. The company is poised to repair all of the faulty structures.

Defects with parting walls were found in 7,085 buildings, and minor problems, such as holes in parting walls, were confirmed in 7,514 structures.

As problems with fire resistance have not been found in any more structures, the company says it will not ask any more residents to leave their apartments for repair work. However, since the company will start inspecting ceilings and outer walls at its apartment complexes, more defects could surface.

Defects were initially found in the parting walls at about 200 Leopalace apartment buildings among 10 complex models, including its "Gold Residence" apartments, between April and May 2018. The finding prompted the company to examine its structures, prioritizing 15,283 buildings among the 10 models.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has instructed Leopalace to finish examining properties among the 10 models by the end of May. It has also told the company to complete repairs to defective structures before this coming summer and to finish checking other models and complete repairs by October.

(Japanese original by Masahiro Kawaguchi, Business News Department, and Norihito Hanamure, City News Department)

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