The city of Yokosuka is trying to change that, by encouraging owners of abandoned houses to tidy them up and put them on the market. It has established an online “vacant home bank” to showcase houses that commercial real estate agents will not touch. Land prices in Yokosuka are down by 70 percent since their peak at the end of the 1980s.
The houses are a steal for the rare souls who will have them. But just one has been sold through the home bank so far, a 60-year-old single-story wooden home with a patch of garden that was listed for 660,000 yen, or $5,400. Places farther up the hill can be had for the equivalent of just a few hundred dollars. Four have been rented, including one to students in a nursing-care program at a nearby college who receive a discount in return for checking up on elderly people in the area.
http://www.domain.com.au/news/tokyos-ab ... 24-gj6arl/
Unlike Detroit, the Japanese crime rate is low and social services fine. On the other hand, even with virtually free housing, the cost of living may be higher than in the U.S. That said, many of these cities are within commuting distance of Tokyo, where the excitement is.
Looking to liven up you writing by living someplace different? This might be an option and, as a writer, you would not need to get a job in Japan. Another option might be to find on in good shape and in a good location and pass it along to writer after writer, each of who stays for a time. The home could be rented or sold and resold.
Something to think about anyway, particularly if you're trying to escape from a particularly deep bout of writer's block.