Japanese property law distinguishes between ownership rights and rights of possession. Ownership involves having the title to property. It includes the right to use and enjoy the property, provided no-one else has possession, and to dispose of it in accordance with the law. Ownership rights continue until the property is transferred or lost or as follows:
1) if another person acquires it through conveyance;
2) if another person openly possesses the property for 20 years, by prescription;
3) if the person on open possession truly believed they were acquiring ownership, the period is reduced to 10 years
The right of possession involves exercising control over something and its actual enjoyment. Possessory property rights can be more important than ownership, and a claim to possess property can be made regardless of holding a title. The owner can however regain possession through timely legal action.
Other property rights include usufruct, particularly the rights of tenant farmers. In addition, conditional rights to property may be created when it is used as collateral for a loan or pledge, the most common being a mortgage.