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Is Japan giving away free homes?


Japan has been in the news recently for supposedly giving away free homes to attract new residents. But is this really true? Let’s take a closer look at the situation.

History of Japan’s Population Decline

To understand why Japan might be giving away free homes, we need to look at its recent history of population decline. Japan’s birth rate has been declining for years, leading to an aging population and a lack of young people to support the economy.

Japanese Snack Box

The Concept of “Akiya” Homes

The term “akiya” refers to vacant or abandoned houses in Japan, and there are estimated to be around 8 million of them throughout the country. Some local governments have started programs to encourage people to move into these empty homes by offering financial incentives.

What Kind of Homes Are Being Offered?

The homes being offered by local governments vary widely in terms of size, location, and condition. Some are traditional Japanese-style houses while others are modern apartments. Many require significant renovations before they can be lived in.

Who Qualifies for Free Homes?

Each local government has different criteria for who can qualify for free or heavily discounted homes. Some require that applicants be under a certain age or have a certain level of income. Others prioritize those who plan to start businesses or work in specific industries.

The Benefits of Moving to a Rural Area

Many of the homes being offered are located in rural areas that have experienced significant population decline. Moving to these areas can offer a lower cost of living, a slower pace of life, and access to natural beauty and outdoor activities.

Challenges of Living in a Rural Area

However, living in a rural area also comes with challenges such as limited job opportunities, a lack of public transportation, and difficulty accessing healthcare and other services.

The Risks of Abandoned Homes

Leaving homes vacant for extended periods of time can lead to deterioration and even danger. Abandoned homes can attract pests, cause structural damage, and become fire hazards.

The Role of the Japanese Government

While some local governments are taking initiative to offer free homes, the Japanese government as a whole has been slow to address the issue of population decline. Critics say that more needs to be done at the national level to encourage immigration and support families with children.

Other Ways Japan Is Addressing Population Decline

In addition to offering free homes, Japan is exploring other ways to address its population decline. This includes increasing support for families with children, encouraging immigration from other countries, and improving working conditions for women.

Conclusion: Is Japan Really Giving Away Free Homes?

While it is true that some local governments in Japan are offering free or heavily discounted homes to attract new residents, it is not a blanket policy across the country. Moving into an abandoned home also comes with challenges and risks that potential residents should consider carefully before making a decision. Ultimately, addressing Japan’s population decline will require a multifaceted approach that involves both local and national efforts.


– “Japan’s Ailing Small Towns Offer Free Homes And Incentives To Move In” by Elana Glowatz (International Business Times)
– “Japan’s Shrinking Regions Offer Free Land And Empty Houses To Lure City Dwellers” by Linda Sieg (Reuters)
– “Why Japan Is Giving Away Abandoned Houses For Free” by Franziska Roscher (BBC News)

Why Japan is giving away $8 million free houses?

In Japan, there are currently up to 8 million homes that are either vacant or abandoned, and the government is starting a program to address this issue. These empty houses pose a challenge for homeowners who struggle to maintain them or no longer wish to pay property taxes.

Is Japan giving empty homes to its citizens for free?

Free houses in Japan, known as akiya or 空き家 in Japanese, are homes that have been left unoccupied or abandoned. These houses vary in type, from inexpensive large houses to secluded rural farmhouses or even the dilapidated estate of Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto.

Can a US citizen get a free house in Japan?

Can Foreigners Buy Akiya in Japan? Like with any real estate property, foreigners or “gaijin” can purchase Akiya homes. The same rules in purchasing real estate applied to both Japanese and foreigners. Unlike other Asian countries, there aren’t restrictions, and you can own land on a freehold basis.Dec 5, 2022

Why are there so many abandoned homes in Japan?

One issue is that some property owners pass away without designating a beneficiary. Alternatively, buildings may be left to a group of inheritors, some of whom may not be interested in selling the property, resulting in vacant structures.

Is it true you can buy a house in Japan for $500?

Believe it or not, it is possible to purchase a house for less than $500 in Japan. There are actually numerous houses listed at this price point in the country.

Why does Japan have 0% homelessness?

The homeless population in Japan is significantly lower compared to other countries due to various factors such as strict drug laws, effective mental health systems, and housing options. Homelessness can result from different factors like drug addiction, mental health, housing options, education, and government decisions.

Environmental Impact of Abandoned Homes

In addition to the risks of abandoned homes mentioned earlier, there is also an environmental impact to consider. When homes are left vacant, they continue to consume resources such as electricity and water even though no one is using them. This can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and strain natural resources.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Japan’s Population Decline

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to Japan’s population decline issue. With travel restrictions in place, immigration has slowed down significantly. Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the need for better healthcare and social safety nets, which may further discourage young people from starting families.

Success Stories of Local Governments Offering Free Homes

While not all local government initiatives have been successful, there have been some positive outcomes from offering free homes. For example, the town of Okutama in Tokyo’s western suburbs has attracted several families and entrepreneurs who are revitalizing the area. This has led to increased tourism and economic growth.

The Role of Technology in Addressing Population Decline

Some experts believe that technology can play a role in addressing Japan’s population decline by allowing remote work and telecommuting. This could enable people to live in rural areas while still maintaining their jobs in urban centers. However, this would require significant investment in infrastructure and digital connectivity.

The Importance of Cultural Shifts in Addressing Population Decline

Finally, it’s worth noting that addressing Japan’s population decline will require not only policy changes but also cultural shifts. For example, there is still a stigma around women working outside the home and having children later in life. Changing these attitudes will be key to encouraging more people to start families and move into rural areas.

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