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Does Squatter's Rights exist in Japan? 2011/1/12 06:06
In the US and several other countries, there is a law pertaining to land/property ownership called ''Squatter's Rights''. Most ridiculous thing ever, but basically if land/property is unfenced, unlocked or whatever and campersor the homeless continue to camp/dwell on your land/property for several years w/o your knowledge, they can legally possess your land/property. Any input would be appreciated.
by koolchick  

squatters 2011/1/12 11:22
I am not sure about the USA but in several European countries squatters right exist but are limited.
You can move in a house that hasn't been lived in for a long while, has no furniture etc. and you can stay (you can ask for water and hydro to be reconnected and you will pay the bills).

However if there is an owner--or heirs--still living somewhere in the world he/ they have the right to kick you out, but not that easily.
You can't be kicked out in winter (I am still talking about Europe), the owner must find you a place to live that you can afford etc.

There has been cases when someone had lived on a piece of land for over 30 years in a small shack they built. There were no owners alive, and when a company wanted to expel the guy and buy the land they lost. He became the legal owner.
In Paris some companies that owned a building find it cheaper to let squatters stay there officially rent free as long as they take care the place as if they owned it. However they will eventually have to live. Also I am pretty sure that it applies to citizens of a country only.

If you were a foreign tourist and decided to stay forever you would become an illegal alien. You might be able to stay if you hide deep in the forest but, surely, as soon as you start going down to a town to get stuff, people would be suspicious..The smaller the town the faster the likehood of an illegal stranger to be discovered.

it is possible in Europe--and that is better than squatting--to buy a place in the boonies or sometimes in a town, that is just 4 walls and a roof, has no electricity, plumbing etc. and cost may be $ 10 000. It is up to you to do all the work to make it fit to live in, and this doesn't have to be overly expensive. But, again, you must be legally allowed to live in the country.

This is what you get for Euros 27 500 in a small town
by Misty lane (guest) rate this post as useful

Squatter's Rights 2011/1/12 17:02
Thnak you for your input Misty. However, I'm still left wondering if this particular law or a 'right' exists in Japan specifically. Are the citizens and/or permanent resident of Japan can dwell/camp on land/property w/o the knowledge of the owner(s) and if undetected, go on living there for several years and take possession in Japan?
by koolchick rate this post as useful

squatters 2011/1/14 06:10
The only way one could live undetected would be by never ever leaving one's home in the middle of the woods. How could one do that? one can't grow food all year long, one needs all sorts of things that are manufactured.

relatives of mine in Europe lived by a huge forest and it was amazing the number of local people that went all across it to fish, hunt (quite often illegally) pick up mushrooms etc. As a teen I used to roam for the best part of a day in these woods with my dogs during a vacation and always ran into someone, even far from the logging trails that crisscrossed the forest.
A few people lived in the forest in shacks (they were the local sorcerers and witches) and people knew who they were as they had to go to a village every so often. Even if they sneaked in the village in the middle of the night to steal food and clothes, people knew. Villagers the world over know everything about everyone. Even dogs know who doesn't belong.

But, if indeed the Japanese law allowed you to own the land after X years on it, you would have to prove that you had lived there for X years..and for that you would need witnesses saying that yes they knew you lived in the woods etc. If anyone knew you lived there chances are the landowner would learn about it sooner or later.

I also think that squatter rights would apply more to a house that isn't lived in for many years than to land, as it is quite normal for land not to be cultivated and for trees not to be cut for many years without the owners rights being jeopardized.
But to live in a house without anyone around noticing signs of life would be practically impossible.
I wish a Japanese could reply as I am curious too...
by Misty lane (guest) rate this post as useful

Wikipedia 2011/1/14 06:28

nothing about Japan...
it does say that in the US land may become the property of a squatter after so many years IF the landowner is aware that someone is squatting on the land but doesn't do anything about it. Obviously this has to do with the need for a squatter to prove how long he/she has been living on a property.
That "law" isn't good all across the country either.
by Misty lane (guest) rate this post as useful

Do you mean adverse possession? 2011/1/14 06:51
In most jurisdiction in the US, you can take property after 10-15 years. But only if you can prove the Iowa, Maine, or New Jersey rules (i.e. did you do it in good faith, bad faith, no faith).

But most jurisdiction requires you to act in good faith (i.e. you have a deed to this house or you're a neighbor and you thought that this was your land)

You can't normally walk onto people land and claim it (unless you live in Maine).

And about the forest thing, you can't claim adverse possession against the US. Since most forests are owned by the US, you can't really take it over.
by random guy (guest) rate this post as useful

In short, yes it does 2011/1/14 07:29
Japan does have adverse possession laws (called 取得時効 or shutoku jikō,) but the requirements differ from what you'd expect in the US.

In order to be able to acquire a certain property, you must have actively maintained the land in question (not necessarily live there, but mow grass regularly, pull out weeds, etc.) for a 20 year period, during which there must be no challenges to that piece of land by the original land owner. Here's a somewhat descriptive link that details adverse possession in Japan:

Realistically though, I'd say the application of this law (and probably being able to find & maintain a piece of land 20 years uninterrupted) only happens in remote rural areas of Japan. Empty lots in urban or suburban areas rarely go abandoned for 20+ years, as land (especially flat pieces of land) is much more valuable in Japan than in America.
by gh6 (guest) rate this post as useful

squatter's cont' 2011/1/15 15:39
Thank you gh6. It is exactly the info I needed to know whether it existed or not. When I heard about Squatter's Rights I was like "what?!!!!!" Itis absolutlely absurd.

According to Misty, it's not anything new in Europe. I reside in the US and I have never heard of anyone (random) actually acquire propety/land this way. I can't even imagine people just out right take possession of something that does not belong to them. Again, thanks for the info and link.
by koolchick rate this post as useful

squatter's cont' thank you(s) 2011/1/15 15:57
Wow, I just reread my previous response to the thread and just want to apologize for all the typos. Very tired after a long day at work. Also missed the post from 'random guest', thank you for your input, it's appreciated.
by koolchick rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/15 17:58
If I remember a few years ago some guy caught a homeless person living out of their closet in their home (forgot exactly where in Japan), they were promptly arrested if I recalled.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2011/1/15 17:59
Here it is:

Essentially, it's hard to do in the major areas of Tokyo, land is a huge commodity in Japan.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

.... 2011/1/15 20:02
story i heard of last month:


more detail:


im suprised they didnt get a court order sooner.

but it seems many neighbors didnt know about the kids at all. ages ranging from 2-13.. how did they keep them quiet, especially when they were babies. what about running about and playing or screaming at each other... they probably never had a breath or fresh air or seen sunlight before. but anyway..

in response to the people who said you need to proved you lived there for 10, 20 years and that people usually know your presence. most people didnt feel the presence of these kids... lol. expect the person who kept giving them the annoynomous tip. that could have been family though.

and since it seems that they were never born in hospitals, im suprised the mother could keep so quiet through contractions and birth...

im still wondering why they kept bringing kids into the world and not care for them properly.
by Reina Jess rate this post as useful

Squatter's rights cont' 2011/1/19 03:44
Thanks for the link for the article, express train. However, Squatter's Rights pertains to people living on land/property without the consent/permission/knowledge of the legal owners. They live and/or campout for years and after a certain amount of time/years they get the rights to the land/property. I posted here with the question of whether this particular 'rights' or law exists in Japan. Found out that it indeed a law of this sort somewhat exists, but not easily exercised by the invaders/imposters in Japan as it is in the US. Really good to know.
by koolchick rate this post as useful

"squatters rights" 2011/2/9 04:44
Koolchick: squatters rights isn't about stealing, it was invented in Victorian England to protect the rights of residents against their landlords. It's very common in big cities, even in western Europe now, for land lords to abuse their positions and take unfair advantage of their tenants. ie. refuse to repair things that they are contractually obliged to etc. Its in cases like this that a tenant can change his/her locks and claim squatters rights until their landlord fulfills his/her part of the contract.
In European cities there are hundreds of squats, often where people have used the law to their advantage; a homeless person who inhabits an abandoned building therefore is not a criminal, however someone who attempts to make an innocent person homeless is committing an offence.
I know the concept can sound a little backwards at first but when you see it in practice and realise the possiblities and intentions of the law you realise squatting and squatters are not a bad idea.
Does that clear up the idea of squatters rights a little?
by Joe (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2011/2/9 06:11
"Essentially" speaking, it almost never happens in Japan, there might be some obscure law somewhere that says 20+ years of maintaining a land, which is virtually impossible in most of the urban areas.

So speaking squatter rights in the ideal/ in how it is used in Europe or even America don't exit in Japan.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

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