By Clay Bohle
We’ve received some interesting reports from our friends at RocketNews24 this past month regarding some incredible economic opportunities for young people in Japan. As many of you may know, Japan is a rapidly aging society. According to TIME, Japan has had the lowest birth rate on record, four years in a row. By 2060, it is estimated that 40% of the population will be aged 65 or older. I’ll let you fill in the gaps about what stats like that can do to a society, suffice to say it’s a depressing prospect.
There is a silver lining for Japanese millennials, however, in the form of incentives aimed at repopulating dwindling countryside towns.
The town of Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture, for example, is practically giving away homes to young families that relocate. Here’s how it works: If you and your spouse are under 40 years of age and have children, Tsuwano will provide you with a new home for the absurdly cheap price of 30,000 yen per month (that’s $250USD). Say what?! But it get’s even better. They also provide free repairs to the home and will help you secure a job in the community! Then, if you remain in Tsuwano for 25 years, they will give you ownership of the house and its plot of land.
Five families were selected from the seventeen who applied for the first round of incentives, but another 20 houses currently under construction will be available by 2018. The houses are all approximately 94 square meters (roughly 1,011 square feet) and sit on good-sized plots of land.
Tsuwano isn’t the only town offering deals like this. Mishima Village, a tiny three island archipelago town in Southwest Kyushu with a population of only 412 residents, is offering an even richer incentive. If you are under 55 years of age, Mishima Village will provide up to 100,000 yen ($840USD) to cover your moving expenses to the island, where they will then give you a three-bedroom house for the ridiculously low monthly price of 15,000 to 23,000 yen. We’re talking less than $200 a month for three bedrooms in this island paradise, people!
The village will place you in the agriculture or fishery industry, but to help you settle in and get your affairs in order, the village also gives you a monthly stipend for the first three years of your residence. Married couples receive 100,000 yen a month, plus an additional 20,000 per month for their first child, and 10,000 yen more for each additional kid. They can also receive grants to help pay for childbirth and their children’s education.
Singles receive some great benefits, too. In addition to a monthly stipend of 85,000 yen a month for the first three years, the island village also has a ‘Bride Searching Project’ initiative, which will pick up the tab for your dates! The service has led to two marriages so far.
And that’s not all, folks! Mishima Village also provides each new resident with a cow. Yes, you read that right. A cow. Move to this island village, and you can get your very own kuroge wagyu calf.
Don’t know what to do with a baby cow? You can also choose to opt out of the cow gift service in exchange for a one-time payment of 500,000 yen.
Make me wonder what I’m still doing in LA...