Inside the Japanese town that pays cash for kids

The series on Japan's demographic reckoning is funded 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.

Nagi, Japan (CNN)When Katsunori and Kaori Osaka had their first child, they were living in a cramped apartment in Nagoya, a city of more than 2 million people in central Japan.

Like many other young couples, they tried to raise their child in the city but found life among the apartment blocks too crowded and expensive, with few child care options. Eventually, they gave up.
"When people are in their 20s and 30s, they can't really afford to live in a bigger space in a city," Katsunori said. "We knew that if we wanted to have more kids, we couldn't do it there."
    Cocooned amid hills, the little town of Nagi-cho is also home to a Japan Self Defense Forces garrison and the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art.
    Fourteen years later, the Osakas moved to Nagi, where Katsunori grew up. The sleepy agricultural town in western Japan has become a success story in the country's efforts to boost its declining birth rate.
    With a population of about 6,000, Nagi feels a world away from Nagoya, and residents cite the lack of busy streets and crowds as reasons why it is a great place to bring up children.
    But they're not the only benefits: Nagi also pays couples who live there to have children.
    Families receive a one-time 100,000 yen ($879) payment for their first child, 150,000 yen ($1,335) for their second and as much as 400,000 yen ($3,518) for the fifth child born to the same family.