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Hometown tax: win a life-size dinosaur fossil replica

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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In case you need some garden deco: the town of Hobetsu in Hokkaido will give away a life-size replica of a Mukawaryu dinosaur (Kamuysaurus japonicus) to anyone who donates 80 million JPY under the "hometown (furusato) tax" system. The dinosaur was 7.5 meters long, 4.5 meters wide and stood 2.8 meters tall. Its fossilized skeleton was exceptionally well preserved when it was unearthed. The original life-size replica is housed at the local Hobetsu Museum. As something with a high degree of educational value, it was featured in the National Museum of Nature and Science's "The Dinosaur Expo 2019."


The replicas are offered in two positions, either standing up straight or the same as the real fossil, with its head ducked low. Smaller, 1:5 scale versions of the replicas are available for a more moderate donation of at least 20 million yen (about $151,000). All four versions will be built to order. The town already had "hometown tax" gift offerings with two main pillars: Hobetsu melons and Mukawa shishamo, the local variety of Hokkaido smelt. But among stiff competition with other municipalities, the town's income from the system is the lowest-ranking in the prefecture. It surpassed 100 million yen (about $754,000) in 2018 after the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake, but has since lingered in the ballpark of 30-40 million yen (about $226,000 to $301,000). Donations made in 2021 stood at 77.48 million yen (about $584,000). With this year's contributions remaining low and the catch of Mukawa shishamo rapidly declining, the town decided to place its hopes on the famous dinosaur.

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