TOKYO -- The average price for land in Tokyo rose a record 85.7 percent in the past year as large numbers of Japanese and foreign firms opened new offices in the Japanese capital, according to the National Land Agency.

A survey conducted on July 1 showed an average price in Tokyo of 2.88 million yen, or $19,726, for a square meter of land in Tokyo. The highest price was 32 million yen, or $219,000, a square meter in the Ginza, the main shopping street in downtown Tokyo, agency official Toshiyuki Aoki said.

The previous highest increase was recorded in 1986, when the average price rose by 22.6 percent.

Aoki attributed the sharp increase to a shortage of office buildings in Tokyo. He said real estate firms offered high prices to buy land from residents near central Tokyo to construct office buildings, and the sellers bought land in Tokyo's suburbs to build houses.

In addition, real estate firms with easy access to funds made speculative investments in land, Aoki said.

A Finance Ministry official, who asked not to be identified, said that 797 foreign firms last year opened offices in Japan, mostly in Tokyo, an increase of 83 from 1985.

More than 14,000 new Japanese firms opened offices in Tokyo in 1986.

Aoki said the survey was conducted in 23,163 areas throughout the nation.