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AP Land allays concerns over its project in Japan

KUALA LUMPUR: The earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan as well as a potential nuclear fallout in the Fukushima area has not dampened Asia Pacific Land Bhd’s (AP Land) interest in Japan.

AP Land is developing a ski resort apartment project Shiki Niseko in the Niseko region on Hokkaido island, over 600 kilometers away from the disaster site in Fukushima.

“We are fully committed to deliver Shiki as scheduled and have awarded the contract to commence work with a groundbreaking on April 10 and completion to be at the end of 2012,” said joint-managing director Low Su Ming in a media briefing on Monday, April 4 to allay concerns investors may have about the situation in Japan

Also at the briefing was Derek Kennewell, LJ Hooker Niseko Resort brand manager, who is handling the sales of the development and is based in Niseko.

“There is no disruption to services in Hokkaido. If you didn’t turn on the news you would not know that anything has happened,” Kennewell said. He added that even in a worst case scenario, of a meltdown from the damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima, the fallout would not reach Niseko, he said quoting experts.

About 60% of units at Shiki Niseko have been booked, of which 30% (about 20 units) have been sold, while the potential buyers of the other 30% are taking a wait-and-see stand although deposits have been paid for the units. Buyers are mainly from Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The ¥5.8 billion project with its 69 fully-furnished units is situated in the village of Hirafu, which is a two-hour drive form New Chitose Airport and under two hours from Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital. The structure is 7-storeys and sits on 0.84 acres. The unit built-up ranges from 990 to 1,367 sq ft for the penthouses (price: from ¥91 million) and 624 to 1,636 for the rest (from ¥50 million). Rental yields are expected to be 3% to 4% a year.

Meanwhile tourist numbers to Hokkaido have increased to 114% compared to last year. The Japanese government aims to increase visitor arrivals to Hokkaido to 16 million in 2020 from the seven million in 2009. Additional infrastructure is being planned which includes an underground bullet train to be completed in 2015.

An artist's impression of Shiki Niseko

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