Mr. Buck to Mr. Hay.

No. 394.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No 392 of the 29th ultimo, relating to the imperial ordinance recently published concerning the law of registration of land title, permitting perpetual leases of property in [Page 320]the foreign settlements to be registered as such without change, I have the honor to state that in an interview with his excellency the minister for foreign affairs yesterday I learned that the requirement of the ordinance that the registration of such leases or transfers thereof in the chihōchō (local government office) instead of the registry office proper, as also the use of the term perpetual lease” as synonymous with “perpetual superficies “was because the law had made obligatory the payment of 2½ per cent of value as a registration tax or charge on such property at the registry office, and the law did not recognize the registration of perpetual leases as such. As an ordinance could not directly repeal or annul the provisions of the law in those respects, it became necessary in order to meet the objections made by me and others to indirectly by ordinance recognize perpetual leases in parenthesis only and by changing the place of registration to relieve perpetual leaseholders from the registration charge of the 2½ per cent of value.

I am informed by our consul-general at Yokohama that registration of perpetual leases as such and transfers thereof at the local government office is going on without charge other than the nominal sum in stamps in payment of a proper fee for registration.

I have, etc.,

A. E. Buck.