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Twenty-five-year-old Sotaro Ito lives in a 9.46-square-meter apartment with a loft in the capital’s retro-hip Koenji district.

His apartment looks more like an office cubicle, with a desk and computer chair dominating a third of the room. A reading pillow is propped up against one of the walls, but there isn’t enough space for him to stretch out his body. A clothesline rope stretches between two wall sconces for him to dry his laundry, and his kitchen is equipped with a small sink and a single induction cooktop.

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