Japan has so many vacant homes it's giving them away

Updated 0129 GMT (0929 HKT) January 15, 2019

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The series on Japan's demographic reckoning is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. None of the material in this series may be reproduced without an explicit credit to CNN and the Pulitzer Center.

Okutama, Japan (CNN)Four years ago, Naoko and Takayuki Ida were given a house. For free.

It's a spacious, two-story home nestled amid trees on a winding country road in the small town of Okutama, in Tokyo prefecture. Before moving, the couple and their children -- two teenagers and a five-year-old -- were all living with Naoko's parents.
"We had to do a lot of repair work (on our new home), but we'd always wanted to live in the countryside and have a big garden," said Naoko, 45.