Tokyo region’s net inflow of residents reaches 6-year high

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the greater Tokyo area (Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa) saw a net inflow of 119,357 residents in 2015. This is the 20th year in a row to see a net inflow, and is the highest level seen since 2009.

Only 8 of Japan’s 47 prefectures reported a net inflow, while areas such as Hokkaido (-8,862), Hyogo (-7,409), Niigata (-6,735), Aomori (-6,560), and Shizuoka (-6,206) saw more people moving out to other areas. Approximately 76% of Japan’s cities, towns and villages recorded net outflows in 2015, as more and more of the population move to larger cities.

Tokyo’s 23 wards saw a net inflow of 68,917 residents, up 7.7% from 2014.

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Hope for Kamakura’s modernist museum

Museum of Modern Art Kamakura

One of Japan’s exemplary models of modern architecture – the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura – now stands a chance at being saved from demolition after a recent structural analysis found that it could be reinforced against earthquakes.

The Kanagawa Prefectural Government is also in discussions with the landowner, the nearby Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine, to seek an extension to the land lease.

In late 2013, it was reported that the prefecture decided against renewing the lease due to the high costs of maintaining the buildings and the anticipated costs of retrofitting. The prefecture announced plans to close the museum at the end of March 2016. Under the terms of the lease, any buildings were required to be demolished before returning the land to the Shrine.

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Two small towns offering free homes to attract new residents

Tsuwano Shimane
Tsuwano Town, Shimane Prefecture

In an effort to attract young families from outside the area, two small towns are offering free house and land packages.

Miyagi Prefecture

The town of Shichikashuku in Miyagi Prefecture will provide a ‘rent-to-own’ house to qualifying residents. After renting the home for 20 years, the tenants will receive the house and land for free.

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Karuizawa population reaches record high

The population in Karuizawa has exceeded 20,000 residents for the first time since it received a town status in 1923.

From the 1980s to 1990s, the town’s population hovered at around 15,000 residents, but began to grow again after the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen station shortened the trip to Tokyo to about 70 minutes. The town is estimating that the local population will reach 21,000 by 2022. The population in 1923 was 5,012 residents.

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Saitama’s “Johnson Town” resembles US suburb

 While Hokkaido has its own version of a Swedish village, Saitama has ‘Johnson Town’ a small neighbourhood of American-style homes built to house the US forces during the Korean War in the early 1950s. 

Although much of Johnson Town’s atmosphere can be attributed to it’s re-development in the 1950s, the history of this enclave dates back even further.

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Latest population data: More over-65’s and less foreigners

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) announced the latest data on Japan’s population on March 16. The number of people aged 65 and over has exceeded 30,000,000 for the first time since record keeping began in 1950. Furthermore, those aged 65 and over exceeded the number of those aged 14 and below in every region across the country.

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Google to take interior images of tsunami-hit buildings

Last month Google began to take interior photos of buildings in the Tohoku region that are scheduled to be demolished after suffering damage in last year’s disaster.

Google started in Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture on November 13. They will take 360-degree photos of 32 places across Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures and publish them on Google Maps from December.

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Golf courses converted to solar farms across Japan

The Japanese government introduced a system whereby electric utility operators are obligated to purchase electricity produced by solar farms, and other renewable sources, at fixed prices. The system started from July 1, 2012. In order to benefit from the program, suppliers must obtain approval by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

Under the feed-in tariff (FIT), utilities will enter into 20-year terms to from solar power suppliers. The purchase price of solar power is expected to be set at 42 Yen per kilowatt-hour.

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