What’s セットバック[SET BACK]?
You’ll often see 要セットバック [YOU SET BACK] (ようせっとばっく)”Set back required” listed on the real estate flyers.
According to the Building Code, the land on which the house is to be built must be at least 2 meters wide on a road that is at least 4 meters wide. Because the government wants to make sure that the road is accessible to fire trucks due to the perspective of disaster prevention.
However, when cars were not in common use, some roads were very narrow!
The government would like to reserve 4 meters of road, but it is difficult to suddenly ask people who currently live in the area to ‘vacate the land for the road and rebuild,’ so we would ask them to set back the land (setback) and build on it when they eventually rebuild.
The technical term for this kind of road is called “42条2項道路” [YONJYU NI KO DOURO] (よんじゅうにこうどうろ)or “みなし道路” [MINASHI DOURO] (みなしどうろ).