FCDO to sell off slice of Tokyo embassy compound

Proceeds will fund upgrade of remaining buildings and work on wider diplomatic estate
The British Embassy in Tokyo Credit: Miki Yoshihito/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

By Jim Dunton

18 Oct 2021

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has confirmed it is planning to sell of a section of the British Embassy compound in Tokyo to Japanese firm Mitsubishi Estate Group.

It said the section of the embassy compound in central Tokyo was currently used mainly for staff accommodation. The FCDO said the exact terms of the sale were “confidential”.

The British Embassy in Tokyo is one of the closest diplomatic missions to the Imperial Palace, main residence of Emperor Naruhito, making the site some of the most expensive real estate in the Japanese capital.

Four years ago, the UK government sold the British embassy compound in Bangkok in a move the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office described as the “biggest land deal in Thai history”. It said the deal had raised £426m that would pave the way for 30 to 40 estates projects.

Confirming its Tokyo plans last week, the FCDO said that the proceeds of the Mitsubishi sale would fund upgrades to the remaining embassy, including the addition of solar panels and energy-efficiency improvements – and work at other diplomatic-estate sites.  New Delhi was the only other location named.

An FCDO spokesperson said the funding would contribute to making the government’s Indo-Pacific region property holdings some of the most modern and environmentally friendly diplomatic buildings in the world.

“By constantly reviewing the set up of our 270 overseas missions we can deliver value for money for British taxpayers while we promote the UK’s interests around the world,” the spokesperson said.

The Nikkei Asia business website quoted a Misubishi Estate spokesperson saying the exact portion of the British embassy compound that the company would buy had yet to be finalised.

The Nikkei speculated the parcel of land could be used for high-end apartments likely to sell for more than £30m each.

The Nikkei said around 28,000 sq m of land was expected to be sold to Mistubishi in the deal. 

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