Japanese Town Offers Significant Sums of Money to Attract New Residents, But There's a Catch

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.10 - 2023 12:57 PM CET

Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps
Japanese Town Offers Significant Sums of Money to Attract New Residents, But There's a Catch.

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The coastal town of Kainan in Japan is actively seeking new residents and is willing to pay a substantial amount of money to attract them, provided certain criteria are met.

This unusual request comes as Kainan, a town in the Wakayama Prefecture, faces an aging population crisis. More than 36% of its 47,000 inhabitants are aged 65 or older.

Furthermore, the number of residents has also decreased, a recurring phenomenon in Japan.

In 2022, the country's population dropped from 125.4 million to 122.42 million, a record decline. To address this situation, Kainan is offering to pay its new residents up to 1 million yen (approximately $6,920) per household. An additional 1 million yen is added for each child under 18 years old.

For a family of four with two children under 18, this amounts to 3 million yen, equivalent to $20.768. For single individuals, the town has proposed an amount of 600,000 yen, or $4.153 euros.

Here's the catch

However, Kainan is not willing to give this money to just any household.

According to The Guardian, the town has certain requirements. To qualify for this money, one must commit to staying for at least five years. More unusually, those wishing to settle in exchange for this money must have "Suzuki" as their surname. While this may seem very restrictive, it is not entirely so.

In Japan, the surname "Suzuki" is the second most common in the country.

The reason Kainan is so attached to this surname is that it is believed to originate from the region. The first family bearing the name "Suzuki" lived in Kainan and was a family of Shinto priests. By attracting residents with the same surname, Kainan aims to enable them to reconnect with their ancestors.

The campaign was Launched in 2021, and according to The Guardian, only one person has moved to the town under this request.