The 2015 Tax Reform Outline was approved by the Cabinet on January 14. From the outline, the following 6 items on housing related to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism were put: 1) extension and expansion of the tax exemption of gift tax for home acquisition funds, 2) extension of the application term for special tax credits such as “residence benefits” for housing loans, 3) creation of special measures related to the acquisition of housing for resale, 4) necessary measures related to property tax of land in order to facilitate the removal of vacant houses, 5) extension of the tax system that promotes housing supply for the elderly including care services, and 6) extension of special measures related to the registration of ownership of residential houses. Concerning item 1), the tax exemption will be extended for 3 years until June 30, 2019, and the maximum amount of tax exemption will be raised to 30 million yen (previously 10 million yen). Concerning item 2), the application period for special tax credits for housing loans will be extended for 1.5 years from December 31, 2017 to June 30, 2019 following the postponement of the increase in consumption tax rate to 10% for 1.5 years from October of this year to April 2017. Concerning item 3), specifically the amount (maximum of 12 million yen) in accordance with the construction date of a previously owned home will be deducted from the tax base. The application period for special measures will be extended from April 1 of this year to March 31, 2017.
In collaboration with Tobishima Corporation and Showa Material Co., Ltd., Kanematsu-NNK Corporation (Tokyo) developed a construction method called “Log Piling Method for Liquefaction Mitigation and Carbon Stock” (LP-LiC), which alleviates possible liquefaction for small-scale, single family homes, and began offering the construction method on February 1. By piling logs into the ground, the construction method solidifies the ground where the groundwater level is shallow and sandy ground is not firm, and suppresses sinking by liquefaction. This construction method was confirmed to have equal or greater ground improving effects compared to other conventional construction methods and to have the effect of suppressing liquefaction damage. By piling in carbon stocked logs into the ground, the construction method contributes to both to the curtailment of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to the possible use of logs cut from forest thinnings. Compared to other methods that use concrete or steel, there are no worries about environmental pollution, and less energy is needed for production and processing. This construction method also makes it possible to use small machinery with low noise and low vibration for the construction, responding to small-scale construction in urban areas. With the assumption of utilizing the construction method in large-scale areas such as parks and school playgrounds and in small to mid-scale buildings, Kanematsu-NNK Corporation expects to use 10,000 cubic meters of domestic logs annually.
The Japan Woodworking Machinery Association, a general corporation, held its New Year’s lecture and social gathering on January 20 at Machinery Promotion Hall (Kikai Shinko Kaikan in Japanese) located in Shibakoen, Tokyo. The association, which was established by unifying the All Japan Woodworking Machinery Association and the Chubu Woodworking Machinery Association, has with time steadily taken the role as a national organization for machinery related to woodworking, and it will hold the Japan Woodworking Machinery Fair with Wood Ecological Technology Fair 2015 (known as Mokkiten Japan with Wood EcoTec 2015) this year from November 11 to 14 at Port Messe Nagoya. In his greetings to start the event, Maretaka Imoto, the president of the association, said, “In regards to holding the exhibition, I’m feeling a strong backwind with the general public’s rising awareness of environmental problems. An open stage will be made at the site, and news from the three sectors of industry, government, and education will be announced,” introducing a new plan. He also gave advanced notice of new products by saying, “I heard there will be a new line of exhibits from some companies.” Held from November 11 to 14 at Port Messe Nagoya, Mokkiten Japan with Wood EcoTec 2015 is currently accepting applications from companies that would like to set up an exhibit. Inquiries about exhibits can be made at the e-mail address: email@example.com.