Failing His Evidence, Be Pleased To Accept Two Or Three
Things That May Or May Not Be Facts Of General Application.
in a measure from statements in the books.
The present land-tax is
nominally 2-1/2 per cent, payable in cash on a three, or as some say a
five, yearly settlement. But, according to certain officials, there has
been no settlement since 1875. Land lying fallow for a season pays the
same tax as land in cultivation, unless it is unproductive through flood
or calamity (read earthquake here). The Government tax is calculated on
the capital value of the land, taking a measure of about 11,000 square
feet or a quarter of an acre as the unit.
Now, one of the ways of getting at the capital value of the land is to
see what the railways have paid for it. The very best rice land, taking
the Japanese dollar at three shillings, is about L65:10s per acre.
Unirrigated land for vegetable growing is something over L9:12s., and
forest L2:11s. As these are railway rates, they may be fairly held to
cover large areas. In private sales the prices may reasonably be higher.
It is to be remembered that some of the very best rice land will bear
two crops of rice in the year. Most soil will bear two crops, the first
being millet, rape, vegetables, and so on, sown on dry soil and ripening
at the end of May. Then the ground is at once prepared for the wet crop,
to be harvested in October or thereabouts. Land-tax is payable in two
instalments. Rice land pays between the 1st November and the middle of
December and the 1st January and the last of February. Other land pays
between July and August and September and December. Let us see what the
average yield is. The gentleman in the sun-hat and the loin-cloth would
shriek at the figures, but they are approximately accurate. Rice
naturally fluctuates a good deal, but it may be taken in the rough at
five Japanese dollars (fifteen shillings) per koku of 330 lbs. Wheat
and maize of the first spring crop is worth about eleven shillings per
koku. The first crop gives nearly 1-3/4 koku per tau (the quarter
acre unit of measurement aforesaid), or eighteen shillings per quarter
acre, or L3:12s. per acre. The rice crop at two koku or L1:10s. the
quarter acre gives L6 an acre. Total L9:12s. This is not altogether bad
if you reflect that the land in question is not the very best rice land,
but ordinary No. 1, at L25:16s. per acre, capital value.
A son has the right to inherit his father's land on the father's
assessment, so long as its term runs, or, when the term has expired, has
a prior claim as against any one else. Part of the taxes, it is said,
lies by in the local prefecture's office as a reserve fund against
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