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Three years ago, Kaori and her family escaped the bustle of Osaka and moved to Gojo, a small, mountain-ringed city in Nara Prefecture known for its well-preserved townhouses and abundance of nature.

In retrospect, it was a move that was ahead of the curve, with COVID-19 spurring more urbanites to show an interest in relocating to rural regions. But while Kaori has been able to avoid jam-packed commuter trains and enjoy weekend canoeing expeditions, there’s been one setback: Her company doesn’t allow her to work remotely.

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