Lucky travellers will be required to apply on the Internet by taking an 'examination' and also to provide a planned travel itinerary for scrutiny. They are also expected to use social media to disseminate stories of their visit while on their stay in Japan, especially on the safety aspects.
However, please note that the plan is still under government consideration and will not be in effect until April 2012. You can watch out for future announcements on the JNTO website.
I expect that many scammers and fraudsters will take advantage of this and will entice gullible people to part with their hard earned money.
So beware of any non-official advertisements about the free tickets.
* the announcement was reported by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbum but is in Japanese.
You can use Google translation if you don't read japanese.