An American entrepreneur has embarked on a project to invigorate rural communities in Japan and create new jobs by reusing abandoned school buildings for his IT business.

Smart Technology Partners, founded in 2010 by Carl Sundberg and now employing 30 people, opened its first data center on the premises of the former Akazawa Elementary School in Aizumisato, Fukushima Prefecture.

"In the future, I would like to open (similar facilities) in as many as 200 locations across" the archipelago, Sundberg, 54, said in fluent Japanese, a skill acquired during his many years working in the country.