Archive for June 11, 2010

A lame officer and cool gates

June 11, 2010 4 comments

In Japan, we have a law which is called “City Planning Act.” The aim of this Act is that administrations, such as the government of Japan or municipal governments, can control their urban plans. Lands of Japan are divided three types, urbanization-designated area, urbanization-restricted area, and other. In urbanaization-designated area, municipal governments are required to put parks in a law-fixed distance. Those who want to have their own homes must pay attention to the height of the house and so on. On the contrary, in urbanization-restricted area, people basically can’t build their houses or buildings at will.

However, any laws have exceptions. Under some conditions, governments can allow people to have bulidings in the restricted area. To get the permission is one of my jobs.

One of my clients asked me to check if it is possible to build a house in one real estate in the restricted area. I went to the town hall in order to acquire information about the town’s unique rule.

One town hall officer was so kind of him. He gave me a lot of advice. At first, the status of the estate I wanted to check was a field, which meant it was difficult to sell, but it’s been a bamboo grove for a long time in real, not a field. The officer told me to go to get aerial photographs which were taken over 10 years ago at Geographical Survey Institute.

The other officer was so lame. “Read this practical book. Ask the branch of the prefectural government,” was what he said to me. “I have the same book and I know the outline of the system. I’d like to know the original rule of this town. Are there any unique rules or restrictions on buliding houses in this town?” I just kept insisting. “We just receive applications and hand over them to the prefectual government. That’s all. Oh, you have to take care of these other laws. You have to go to the divisions relating each law, respectively.” said the officer.

“So…what’s your job? Receiving applications and submit them to the prefectural government? Oh my…” I nearly said to the officer, “What a nice job! I could work with you. I’ll call you a delivery man.”

After this, I returned to my city (the branch of the prefectual government is in my city!) and got the information.

I had a new experience at the Geographical Survey Institute. I have seen a lot of aerial photographs at city halls, Fixed Property Tax Division. They get on their cars with photos in their hands, sometimes ride on bicycles when they work in big cities like Nagoya, and go check if they can impose taxes on buildings. However, I haven’t visited the Geographical Survey Institute itself.

I was surprised at a ton of aerial photographs. There are a lot of lists covering our region in the shelves. One title drew my attention. It said “the aerial photographs by the U.S. army.” “By the U.S. army?? May I try this?” I asked the officer. “Sure.” he said it with smile and handed it to me. “The photos at the Greater East Asian War? Ummm…they could already survery with such advanced skills.” I said to myself.

I was satisfied with the result at the Institute. I checked the photographs in 1990 and 1975. Both of the photographs had no evidence showing the estate was a field. I made an application for the photographs.

I have another topic about the Institute. When I entered the building, the guards demanded me to write my identity and gave me a card. No one exculding officers who work in the building can enter the building without this card. I couldn’t help joking and smiling, and said to the guards while writing my name, “Sir, There was no gate like this when I used to visit. You’ve just started handling so important and critical intelligence, like C.I.A?”

I took some photos on the gate.

People can go through the gate with this card. By touching the panel with the card, the gates can open.

Luckily, I could take a photo of a nice-looking officer going through the gate. It’s not me, incidentally.

Categories: My diaries
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