Japan enacts law to protect water resources from foreign purchases

Japan's Diet enacted a law on Thursday aimed at protecting the country's water resources from being acquired and overexploited by foreign investors.

The legislation, passed at the day's plenary session of the House of Representatives, aims for an integrated implementation of policies on water resources to prevent foreign ownership and uncontrolled development of such resources in Japan.

Under the legislation, a government task force, led by the prime minister, will be set up to map out a basic plan to protect and properly administer rivers, forests and farmland.

The task force will also be responsible for coordinating the policies and measures among relevant government offices and agencies.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers working on water-related reforms drafted the legislation in response to increased purchases by foreigners of forest areas, which raised concern at potential overexploitation.

The legislation was unanimously approved by the lower house last year but scrapped after deliberations were halted when the House of Councillors passed a censure motion against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last June.

The bill was resubmitted during the current Diet session that began in January and passed by the upper house last week.