US & Japan Raise Concerns Over China Buying Land Near Military Bases


US and Japan have raised concerns over the Chinese company purchasing land near defence base areas.

Tokyo:  US and Japan have raised concerns over the Chinese company purchasing land near defence base areas.

Chinese company acquired a piece of land in Hokkaido near Japanese Air Self-Defense Force radar site and Fufeng Group purchased 300 acres of farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota in the US.

After the revelation, in January, Sanae Takaichi, who then was the policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said that a Chinese company acquired a land in Hokkaido, roughly 35 km away from a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force radar site and asked that is this not a part of the national security issue, Nikkei Asia reported.

While addressing the Lower House Budget Committee session in Japan Takaichi said, “Is this not a national security issue?”

The ownership and investment in Japan’s forest region had witnessed a 4.7-fold increase from 2010, according to Japan’s Forestry Agency.

In 2021, buyers coming from Hong Kong, Macao, Australia, Singapore and the US are buying land in Hokkaido. A total of 19 cases were recorded.

Last Month, Ryan Ashley and Alec Rice, active-duty officers in the US military, writing for Nikkei Asia described Japan’s northernmost main island, Hokkaido, “is a historical hotbed of great power competition, poised to again demonstrate its critical importance in the Pacific.”

China has long recognized Hokkaido “as a prize jewel of the North Pacific island chain, has strengthened its economic influence in the area for decades and is today increasing its military cooperation with Russia,” they wrote in Nikkei Asia.

In July, a Cabinet Office committee held a hearing of experts over the issue of land use around infrastructure deemed vital to national security, such as Self-Defense Force bases and nuclear plants.

One expert noted that it is only natural for foreign militaries to attempt to gather information about opponents’ militaries. “In contingencies, there is a possibility that the aim switches to sabotage, especially regarding nuclear plants,” the expert warned, saying that all precautionary measures should be considered, according to a transcript.

Concerns are mounting that the weaker economy of Japan may accelerate the acquisition of land by foreign players, according to Nikkei Asia.

Earlier, in the US, the Fufeng Group, a China-based company, purchased 300 acres of farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota, a rural area that lies about a 90-minute drive from the Canadian border, according to the New York Post citing a report.

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Recently, the foreign ownership and investment in US agricultural land nearly doubled from 2010 to 2020 and also alarmed lawmakers.

In a letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO), the 130 US lawmakers requested the agency to find out the extent of and trends in foreign investment in agricultural land. It also asked for a review on whether current standards for filing accurately capture the origin of the investment, Nikkei Asia reported.

As of December 2020, 37.6 million acres (15.2 million hectares) of U.S. agricultural land was held by foreign individuals and entities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, representing 2.9 per cent of all privately held agricultural land, reported Nikkei Asia.

Canada topped the list with 12.4 million acres, or 32 per cent of the total, followed by the Netherlands, Italy, the UK and Germany.

China held 352,140 acres, or less than 1 per cent of foreign-owned land.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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