Japan will launch its first Islamic real estate investment project which will be funded by a major Middle East institutional investor.
Mikihaisa Hirai, president of Atlas Partners Japan (APJ), which specialises in real estate asset management, said: "We are working on a Shariah-compliant Japanese real estate investment project with a major Middle East client. Our target is to close by the end of July."
The Middle East institution behind the deal is a closely guarded secret, but Kuwaiti and Qatari businesses are the Middle East's largest investors in Japanese real estate. Islamic finance has been extremely popular in some other Asian countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, but Shariah-compliant financing methods have not yet taken off in Japan.
"No Japanese bank can do it or has shown the interest to work out how it can be done," Mr Hirai said. Since 2003, APJ has successfully launched three Japanese real estate funds for pooled global investors and for institutional investors.