Advisor for RENOVATION, REPAIR, REAL ESTATE and CONSTRUCTION for foreigners living in Japan

What’s セットバック[SET BACK]?

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).


Can’t a property with a required setback be rebuilt?
Yes, you can. But…
When you rebuild, you are building a house that matches the lot after the setback. 建ぺい率 [KENPEI RITSU] (けんぺいりつ) “building-to-land ratio” and 容積率 [YOUSEKI RITSU] (ようせきりつ) “floor-area ratio” are also calculated on the site after the setback.
But most of real estate advertisements may state “再建築不可”[SAIKENCHIKU FUKA] (さいけんちくふか) , because the customer might mistakenly think the same size of house can be rebuilt.
Please be noted that there should be no garage because the property is not accessible by a car.