Japan local govts. push 'dual residency'

Local governments in Japan are trying to enlist remote workers in an effort to revitalize their communities. They're encouraging people to take up so-called "dual residency" arrangements between their own cities and bigger urban hubs.

Saku City in the central prefecture of Nagano is accessible from Tokyo in roughly 70 minutes by Shinkansen bullet train.

The city is offering a travel allowance to people living and working remotely in Saku who make occasional work trips to the Tokyo area. The payment is up to 20,000 yen, or nearly 130 dollars, a month.

To be eligible, applicants have to prove that their registered address is in Saku.

The city already has a site where remote workers can mingle with other residents. Officials say the exchanges of ideas there have even led to new craft cola products.

Saku City official Iwashita Norihito said, "We want to preserve the population of Saku by attracting new people and maintaining the city as an economic zone.

Central government officials are also planning to promote the idea of "dual residency." A legal revision allows for subsidies for municipalities to repair vacant houses and set up sites for remote work.