But with over 8.2 million homes nationwide now vacant due to an aging population, declining birthrate and mass migration of younger workers to megacities, some rural regions, and even some cities, are struggling to deal with the abandoned homes, called akiya, which are not only eyesores but also fire hazards. Source Japan Times
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Brussels is investigating a showcase Chinese rail project that aims to extend Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative into the heart of Europe, potentially putting the EC at loggerheads with China. The commission’s probe is into a planned 350km high-speed railway between Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, and Budapest in Hungary. Source: FT
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has gained some ground on her main election rivals, independent Emmanuel Macron and conservative Francois Fillon, but would still lose to either of them in the May 7 runoff for the presidency, a poll showed on Monday. Source Reuters
Houses in Germany’s cities are overvalued by as much as 30%, the Bundesbank warned on Monday, adding to fears of a housing bubble in Europe’s largest economy after years of ultralow interest rates. Prices for residential real estate rose by 8% last year in 127 cities. Source: MarketWatch