14,000 people forced to leave after substandard materials found

More than 14,000 apartment dwellers across Japan face the prospect of being forced to move home after the developer of their units admitted that substandard construction practices will require it to carry out major repairs.


The company said a special urgency was needed for 7,782 residents in 641 apartment buildings who face the biggest danger as those structures have inadequate fire-resistant ceilings. The residents are being asked to vacate their premises by the end of March.


photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp


But that will very likely create additional problems as it overlaps with the period of general moving around Japan due to new work assignments that often begin in April, the start of Japan’s fiscal year.


An in-house investigation by Leopalace21 of all 39,000 or so structures it had built found the fire-resistance and sound reduction capabilities of the ceilings and outer walls that did not match government standards in 1,324 buildings. Those structures were constructed between March 1996 and September 2001 in 33 prefectures.


Sources said there were many cases in which the building materials used apparently did not correspond to those included in the construction blueprints the company submitted to local governments for approval to go ahead with construction work.


In the past news conferences about  Leopalace21 officials have said there was no sharing of information about materials between the design department and the department ordering the materials. They also said misunderstandings arose at construction sites because of a lack of consistency in expressions used in the blueprints.


A high-ranking official of the infrastructure ministry, which has jurisdiction over the Building Standards Law, said there appeared to be an organization-wide use of substandard materials.


Company officials said Leopalace21 will reimburse expenses incurred by those forced to move, as well as compensate building owners for lost rent due to repairs that make units uninhabitable.


Those extra expenses led the company to project an accumulated special loss of 43 billion yen ($392 million). Company officials said they expected a net loss of between 38 billion yen and 40 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March.


Reference: Rickety building methods to force 14,000 unit dwellers to move


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