Shades of the Oklahoma land rush in the U.S. 123 years ago; that is what is happening today in the tiny Japanese farming town of Yuni (Pop. 5,900).
Situated on the northern island of Hokkaido, the town's elders have decided the only practical way to increase their population quickly is to offer residential-use land at prices nobody can refuse.
The asking price: $1.50 per square meter (11 square feet). That equates to about 13.6 cents per square foot.
In Japanese money, it is 120 yen, just two percent of the local going price of 6,000 yen, and a fraction of the 21.5 million yen ($272,000) charged for a square meter of dirt in Tokyo's high-end Ginza district.
The price was set to coincide with the 120th anniversary of the town's founding.
Yuni is a one-hour drive from Hokkaido's main city, Sapporo. The town is selling eight 330 square meter plots on a former public housing project.
France 24, an online division of Agence France-Press (AFP), reports about 200 potential buyers already are considering the offer. Many are from Tokyo where land is at a premium and houses are built in tight formation. The only catch is land buyers must build a home for their own use with three years of buying the plot.
A few foreigners also have shown interest. However, only Japanese nationals or foreigners with permanent residency in Japan are eligible to apply by the Aug. 31 registration deadline.
AFP reports rent and land prices in Japan's crowded cities remain among the highest in the world, despite deflationary declines and years of economic indifference by the government.