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When managing national land resources in the 21st century, there is one problem we must face directly: the quietly unfolding reality that in many cases in Japan the land owner is unknown. This is a symptom of the fact t hat changes in land ownership (for example, upon inheritance) are often not formally recorded at the real estate title registrar. This can make it impossible for a third party to identify the land owner. Ownership uncertainty has been an obstacle for new users who wish to develop businesses in agriculture or forestry and has also hobbled land acquisition during disaster-recovery efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake. In recent years, it has become an increasingly prominent social issue. Estimates put the number of cases where the land owner is unknown in the hundreds of thousands. The problem is likely to grow in the future through inheritance, and so a systematic response is a matter of the highest urgency. However, unless new demands for the land emerge, the problem of unknown ownership will not come to light; it is therefore difficult to solve the fundamental problem. Nonetheless, considering the resource problems that Japan faces with regard to food and energy, we must avoid allowing uncertain ownership of farmland and forests－the natural capital that creates these resources－to prevents their utilization. This paper addresses the problem of land ownership uncertainty, which is likely to worsen in the coming decades as the population shrinks. We analyze those circumstances surrounding the issue that form the basis of common knowledge and consensus on the subject. We then examine the state of institutional responses and suggest some initiatives that could be undertaken to move toward appropriate national land resource management.