For years, Japan has tried — without success — to prevent politics, business and its population from being overly concentrated in Tokyo. But it appears the coronavirus pandemic could be a game changer, with many seeing it as an opportunity to rethink their approaches to work and life and move out of the capital to rural areas.
Among them is Kazuki Hanado, 27, who moved to the city of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture in October 2020. Before the pandemic, Hanado, who was born in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, worked at a luxury inn near the Imperial Palace. But in May 2020, a few months after Japan decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the inn closed down. The hiatus made her re-evaluate her life.