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#ANONGBALITA Abandoned homes in Japan surge to almost 4 million

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The number of abandoned homes in Japan has soared to almost four million over the last 20 years, government data showed, as a shrinking population guts rural communities.

About 3.85 million homes were vacant nationwide in 2023, around 80 percent more than in 2003, according to a government survey released Tuesday.

The internal affairs ministry’s review, conducted every five years, showed that the number of abandoned homes increased by about 360,000 from 2018.

With the world’s second-oldest population and chronically low birth rates, the phenomenon of empty homes is particularly rampant in rural areas of Japan.

Many belong to people living in major cities who have inherited them from relatives and who are unable or unwilling to keep them renovated.

Authorities have stepped up calls on owners to demolish, sell or repurpose properties and have enacted a law designating more buildings as subject to official warnings.

Births in Japan dropped to a new low in 2023, government data showed in February, with the country recording more than twice as many deaths as new babies.


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