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Japanese land prices rose for fourth straight year in 2018 - tax agency

People walk on the street at a shopping and amusement district in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's land prices rose for a fourth straight year in 2018, thanks to solid demand for office space and a tourism boom, a government survey showed on Monday.

Average land prices increased 1.3% in 2018, accelerating from 0.7% in 2017, according to the National Tax Agency.

The rise appears to reflect brisk demand for infrastructure and urban redevelopment projects as well as housing at a time of low interest rates, the agency said.

Land in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district remained Japan's most expensive for a 34th straight year, hitting a record high of 45.6 million yen (332,246 pounds) a square metre, the survey showed.

But last year's increase in Ginza slowed to 2.9% from 9.9% in 2017.

The agency said the biggest increase was in an area of the southern city of Naha, Okinawa where the price of a block jumped 39.2% to 1.03 million yen per square metre.

Overall land prices in Okinawa, a popular destination for tourists, rose 8.3%, the biggest increase among Japan's prefectures, and prices in Tokyo climbed 4.9%.

The tax agency assesses land prices as of Jan. 1 every year to calculate inheritance and gift taxes on properties acquired in that year. The latest survey covered more than 320,000 plots.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Richard Borsuk)