Japanese Planning Legislation and Laws

Hari Srinivas

The fundamental law that governs planning processes in Japan is the City Planning Act. This Act, together with other related laws function as a unified system in effect urban planning. Essentially, there are three groups of law/acts that effect urban planning. These are:

  1. Group A: Laws of Higher Authorities
    The laws off higher categories which regulate city planning include those that determine planning of national highways and land use at national level. For example, the alignment of roads approved in city planning are decided according to the plan of national roads.

  2. Group B: Related Laws
    Adjustment with land use outside urban areas is ensured by synchronizing city plans with other laws. Of particular importance is the adjustment of urban land use (City Planning Area) with agricultural land use. Formally, the jurisdiction of City Planning Law is decided by classifying agricultural land use and urban land use in the National Land Utilizations Planning Law. It is determined locally by interactive adjustment of related laws, based on which higher ranks will be altered accordingly.

  3. Group C: Individual Laws
    Separate individual laws regulate the contents of each city plans, with respect to land use zoning, urban development projects and urban facilities.

Besides the City Planning Act, the other relevant laws include:

Groups A and B: Laws of Higher Authorities and related laws

Major acts (national and regional levels):
Agricultural Land Act
Chubu Region Development Act
Comprehensive National Land Development Act
Development of Farming Promotion Areas Act
Forest Act
Industrial Development Area Act
Industrial Location Control Act
Industrial Relation Act
Kinki Region Development Act
Land Expropriation Act
Local Tax Act
National Capital Region Development Act
National Land Utilization Planning Act
New Industrial City Act
Pollution Control Act
Promoting Increase of Public Lands Act
Urban Development Loan Act

Group C: Individual Laws

Land Use Zoning:
Agricultural Land Reservation in Urban Promotion Areas Act
Building Standard Act
Cultural Properties Protection Act
Distribution Centre Act
Port and Harbour Act
Special Measure for Preservation of Historic and Natural Features in Ancient Cities Act
Urban Green Space Conservation Act

Urban Development Projects:
Land Readjustment Act
Law Concerning Development of Suburban Development Districts and Satellite Towns
New Residential Built-up Area Development Act
Urban Renewal Act

Urban Facilities:
Canal Act
Local and Private Railways Act
Motor Vehicle Terminal Act
Parking Place Act
River Act
Road Act
Sewerage Act
Slaughterhouse Act
Tramways Act
Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Act
Wholesale Market Act

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org