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Number of abandoned homes hits record high of 8.5 million in 2018

This photo shows a "machiya" tradtional wooden townhouse that was renovated and turned into a hotel after being abandoned, in Otsu. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The number of abandoned homes hit a record high of 8.46 million as of Oct. 1, rising by 260,000 over five years, government data showed Friday.

    Abandoned homes as a proportion of total housing stock also hit a record high of 13.6 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from the previous survey five years earlier.

    The total number of homes in Japan increased by 1.8 million to 62.4 million, of which 53.7 million were occupied, up 1.6 million from the previous survey, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

    Yamanashi Prefecture in eastern Japan had the highest proportion of abandoned homes at 21.3 percent, followed by Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan at 20.3 percent.

    The prefectures with the lowest proportions of vacant homes were Saitama, north of Tokyo, and Okinawa in southern Japan.

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