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Geographical Review of Japan
Vol. 76 (2003) No. 5 P 349-366



This paper concerns the land conversion process in the rural-urban fringe of Maebashi city, a medium sized city in Japan. The author investigated land-use change, land ownership change, and landowners' land-use decisions. Land ownership change was examined from 1980 to 1993 using land assessment data from the Maebashi municipal office. The information about landowners' land-use decisions was obtained by interviewing selected landowners. The landowners in the sample area made land-use decisions based on two types of factors, called initial and decision factors. The initial factors were land re-adjustment, land inheritance, need for a larger income, request to sell their land, and failure of a non-agricultural business. The decision factors were the existence of their successors in agriculture, payment of inheritance tax, intention to keep farming, possession of land with good access to roads and their desire to utilize the land. Based on their decisions, their behavior can be divided into three categories: land utilization, transaction (or sale), and abandonment. Traded land was converted to urban use, such as housing, parking or shops; and was scattered throughout the area. Utilized land was converted by the owners themselves; and was distributed along the main roads leading to central Maebashi, close to the owners‚ houses. Utilized and traded land were based on different decisions by the landowners. Much of the land in the inner fringe is in demand. Thus, both land being utilized and land being traded tended to be converted to urban use.

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