Shinzo Abe: Upzone Japan

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 24 2014 1:59 PM

Shinzo Abe: Upzone Japan

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Let's get some buildings!

Photo by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

Monetary policy superstar Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, is going even harder after the Matt Yglesias vote with this reform proposal:

Soon, our deregulation package will be set in motion. Over the next two years, in designated areas, no vested interests will remain impervious. For example, in Japanese cities aspiring to world-class status, limits on floor space will become a thing of the past. We will soon see high-quality housing, business complexes, and zero-emissions towns appearing, one after another.
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To be perfectly honest, I don't know much about Japanese housing policy so it's difficult for me to say how big a deal this will be in practice. Japan already has very dense cities and a falling population, so this reform is probably less necessary than in a country like the United States or France or the United Kingdom. That said, I believe the typical Japanese dwelling is quite small so upzoning could do a lot to improve quality of life. 

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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