Reallocating land: What it means

The process is designed to reallocate land by gathering together separate plots owned by the same person into a single plot in order to increase productivity and make it more profitable for the owner. Redistribution can be carried out within specific areas defined as farmland by the State in all farming regions. The process of voluntary land redistribution can begin once there are at least 20 applications from landowners within a specific area to the local prefectural services. The redistribution can be canceled if the owners of 51 percent of the total area lodge their disagreement within a specific time period. The farms are evaluated according to their productivity. Many such applications are currently pending at various prefectures, but in 2000 only 6,216 hectares were redistributed, in 2001 the figure was 7,134, in 2002, 3,385 and last year the figure jumped to 9,653 hectares. Apart from the lack of funds and the many attempts to block the process, it is often difficult to convince someone to give up ownership of a particular piece of land and replace it with another.