Hyakuman Chobu Kaikon Keikaku (The million-hectare development plan) (百万町歩開墾計画)
The Hyakuman Chobu Kaikon Keikaku (The million- hectare development plan) was a government scheme during the Nara Period. It was mainly directed towards the Ou region. It was also called the "Ryoden Hyakuman Choubu Kaikon Keikaku" (Development plan for the million-hectare of fertile field). A million hectares were nearly impossible, so it may have merely been an idea or a slogan.
The plan was issued by the Yamato dynasty on April 25, 722. The plan contents were as below.
(Translated into modern language)
To ease social unrest within the Mutsu province and to provide stability to the people, a "choyo" (tax in tribute and labor under the ritsuryo system) will be exempted, and all those who come to the capital will be sent back to their land. All citizens will be required to work ten days on the development of the million-hectare of fertile field, and those who refuse will be punished by the district governors.
Farmers who contributed a crop of over 3,000 koku from their harvest were promoted to the sixth rank in the kuni (order of merit), those who contributed over 1,000 koku received tax exemption for life, and those who already held the eighth court rank or higher were promoted by one rank in the kuni.
The interest rates of all government loans, both public and private, will be set at 30 percent.
As food is vital for the regiments in outlying regions, all those who contribute towards the provisions will be promoted.
The above four paragraphs were the outline of the plan.
However, the situations were that 'many farmers skipped out by night to avoid the burden from the development plan' or 'the problem that the farmers of allotted farmland became a vagrant emerged as a social issue' and as a result the development plan was not really carried out. According to the 'Wamyoruiju-sho' (Kango-Japanese Dictionary) that was published in the beginning of the 10th century, the Mutsu Province cultivated around 51,000 hectares, the Dewa Province around 36,000, which were very different from the original plan of a million hectares. The nationwide tally fell short of the million hectares, reaching only 880,000 hectares, and the plan was ultimately a failure. As described above, that is why it may have merely been a slogan.