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When he was 30, Yuiki Hotaka bid farewell to Japan’s notoriously long working hours and crowded commutes forever.

He wasn’t merely quitting his job at a Mitsubishi group company he had worked for since graduating university. He was retiring after saving around ¥70 million ($637,000) in financial assets. Based on his calculations, that would allow him to live off stock dividends for the rest of his life and pursue his interests and hobbies: Farming, hiking and enlightening readers of his blog about the alternative lifestyle he practices known as FIRE — an acronym that stands for “financial independence, retire early.”

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