Tuesday, November 28, 2023

US, Japan raise concerns over China buying land near military bases

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A Chinese corporation bought a plot of property in Hokkaido next to a radar installation for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, while the Fufeng Group bought 300 acres of farmland in the US near Grand Forks.

Following the revelation, Sanae Takaichi, the policy director of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party at the time, reportedly asked whether it was not a national security issue that a Chinese company had purchased land in Hokkaido that was about 35 kilometres from a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force radar site.

Is this not a matter of national security, Takaichi asked the Lower House Budget Committee in Japan.

According to the Japan Forestry Agency, ownership and investment in Japan’s forest region have increased by 4.7 times since 2010.

Land in Hokkaido is being purchased in 2021 by purchasers from Hong Kong, Macao, Australia, Singapore, and the US. Nineteen instances in all were noted.

In a recent article for a publication, US military active-duty personnel Ryan Ashley and Alec Rice stated that Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost major island, “is a historical hotspot of great power struggle, set to again establish its crucial role in the Pacific.”

According to an article in Nikkei Asia, China has long seen Hokkaido as “a prize gem of the North Pacific island chain, has bolstered its economic influence in the region for decades, and is now boosting its military collaboration with Russia.”

A Cabinet Office committee heard testimony from experts in July about the use of property near infrastructure that is deemed essential to national security, such as nuclear power plants and bases for the Self-Defense Force.

According to one analyst, it is only natural for foreign armies to try and learn more about their adversaries’ military. According to a translation of the expert’s remarks, “in eventualities, there is a chance that the purpose turns to sabotage, especially with nuclear reactors,” warning that all preventative measures should be taken.

According to the publication, worries are growing that the weakened Japanese economy may hasten foreign players’ acquisition of land.

According to a story from the publication, a Chinese corporation with headquarters in China previously bought 300 acres of farmland in North Dakota near Grand Forks, roughly a 90-minute drive from the Canadian border.

Recently, politicians were concerned as the amount of foreign ownership and investment in US agricultural land nearly quadrupled from 2010 to 2020.

130 US congressmen asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a letter to investigate the volume and patterns of foreign investment in agricultural land. Additionally, it requested a study of whether the investment’s origin is properly captured by the filing requirements as of right now, according to the publication.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, foreign people and organisations owned 37.6 million acres (15.2 million hectares) of agricultural property in the United States as of December 2020. This represents 2.9% of all privately held agricultural land, according to the publication.

With 12.4 million acres, or 32% of the total, Canada came in first, followed by the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, and Germany.

352,140 acres, or less than 1% of all foreign-owned land, were controlled by China.

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