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According to Fast Company (This article and its images were originally posted on Fast Company December 6, 2018 at 08:09 AM.)
There are some 8 million abandoned homes–or akiya–in Japanese suburbia, according to The Japan Times. And if you’ve got a visa allowing you to live in Japan, some of them can be yours for free or very low prices, and the government may give you a subsidy to renovate one. There are even databases devoted to helping people find these homes, known as “akiya banks .”
What’s driving the government to give away homes? In part, it has to do with Japan’s aging population: According to the World Bank, the country’s population decreased by -0.2% in 2017 alone, while China and the U.S. slowly grew 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. There are simply fewer people in Japan than there once were–roughly 1.3 million fewer people than in 2010 by one count [paywall].
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