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Gov't eyes speedier land expropriation process.

TOKYO, Feb. 21 Kyodo

The land ministry has compiled a draft bill to amend the Land Expropriation Law to enable swifter expropriation of land for dam, road and other public works projects, ministry sources said Wednesday.

The cabinet is expected to approve March 2 the bill drafted by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry and to submit it to the Diet shortly after that, they said.

The draft aims to simplify procedures required before central or local governments can expropriate plots of land owned by private landowners for public works.

Central and local governments planning public works projects must submit files on the plots they want to expropriate to land expropriation panels to get approval.

Under the draft, the files would be allowed to be completed without landowners' signatures after drafts of the files are made available to the public for one month, provided the land is owned by more than 100 owners.

Additionally, if there are multiple landowners, prefectural land expropriation panels can ask them to choose between one and three representatives in order to simplify the panels' deliberations on whether to allow the expropriations, the draft says.

The draft, however, also requires that central and local governments explain their public works projects to landowners before they apply to authorities for the green light.

The governments would be obliged to disclose their project goals and to hear opinions from advisory bodies.

The measures were drafted following protests by residents and environmentalists of a number of public works projects, resulting in delays in the necessary land expropriations to complete the projects.

In 1999, it took up to three years to get final approval of land expropriations from land expropriation panels.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Feb 26, 2001
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