Is China Turning Hokkaido into a Province of Its Own?

Via Asia Times, a report on China’s acquisition of land in Hokkaido:

A new book whose title translates as “Is China Turning Hokkaido into a Province of Its Own?” has caused quite a stir in Japan as the author, Miyamoto Masami (宮本雅史みやもと まさふみ), who sits on the editorial board of the Sankei Shimbun, sounded the alarm that Chinese capital was snapping up large chunks of land in the scenic northern prefecture.

One site mentioned in the book is a 2.1-square-kilometer golf resort that is just an hour by car from the prefectural capital Sapporo.

“In the massive luxury resort that stretches to the Fuji-like Mount Yotei, the only language you can hear is not Japanese but Mandarin,” Masami wrote.

The land plot was auctioned to a bidder from China in 2011 after the insolvency of the previous owner, and the Chinese operators retrofitted the facilities to cater to their compatriots as Chinese tourists and golf and ski enthusiasts, inspired by movies shot in Hokkaido, flocked to the Japanese island.


This is part of a bigger picture where Chinese companies buy and hoard sites in Japan, from Tokyo to Hokkaido, a momentum that has not been dampened by the prolonged estrangement and diplomatic rows between Beijing and Tokyo.

Masami’s own estimate is that Chinese buyers may have grabbed a total of 700 square kilometers of land in Hokkaido.

And it is not only golf courses that are sought after – farmlands are also among the sites bagged by Chinese investors as they outbid Japanese and other foreign buyers.

Some of these plots in Hokkaido are said to be just a stone’s throw away from Japanese military bases.

Chinese newspapers have rushed to hit back after the book was published, accusing Masami of making a fuss over normal business transactions.

A well-known scholar has also suggested that the Japanese people have a phobia about a stronger China.

But Japanese commentators say these Chinese investors, other than buying Japan’s land and resources, may also want to obtain Japanese residency.

On some Japanese forums known for their nationalist inclinations, netizens are also fuming over these dealings, with many demanding that the government impose a large capital gains tax to stem the “exploitation.”

But Hokkaido officials have reaffirmed their incentives to attract foreign investment. China is a fast-growing source of tourists to Japan as well, with more than 3.28 million visits made during the first half this year.

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About This Blog And Its Author
Seeds Of A Revolution is committed to defining the disruptive geopolitics of the global Farms Race.  Due to the convergence of a growing world population, increased water scarcity, and a decrease in arable land & nutrient-rich soil, a spike of international investment interest in agricultural is inevitable and apt to bring a heretofore domestic industry into a truly global realm.  Whether this transition involves global land leases or acquisitions, the fundamental need for food & the protectionist feelings this need can give rise to is highly likely to cause such transactions to move quickly into the geopolitical realm.  It is this disruptive change, and the potential for a global farms race, that Seeds Of A Revolution tracks, analyzes, and forecasts.

Educated at Yale University (Bachelor of Arts - History) and Harvard (Master in Public Policy - International Development), Monty Simus has long held a keen interest in natural resource policy and the geopolitical implications of anticipated stresses in the areas of freshwater scarcity, biodiversity reserves & parks, and farm land.  Monty has lived, worked, and traveled in more than forty countries spanning Africa, China, western Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Southeast & Central Asia, and his personal interests comprise economic development, policy, investment, technology, natural resources, and the environment, with a particular focus on globalization’s impact upon these subject areas.  Monty writes about freshwater scarcity issues at and frontier investment markets at