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The bustling city to forced to launch dating app to help boost plunging birth rate

A bustling city will launch its own dating app as early as this summer as part of government efforts to boost the plunging national birth rate.

Users will be required to submit documentation proving they are legally single and sign a letter stating they are willing to get married, according to a Tokyo official on Tuesday.

While stating one’s income on Japanese dating apps is common, the capital will require a tax certificate slip to prove the annual salary.

“We learned that 70 percent of people who want to get married aren’t actively joining events or apps to look for a partner,” a Tokyo government official in charge of the new app told AFP.

“We want to give them a gentle push to find one,” he said.

Last year, Japan recorded more than double as many deaths as births. Births fell from the eighth consecutive year to just 758,631, a 5.1 percent drop, according to preliminary government data. Meanwhile, the number of deaths stood at 1,590,503.

The app is aimed at those over 18 who are living, working or studying in Tokyo. An interview will also be conducted to confirm the user’s identity as part of the registration process, which has been on a test run for free since late 2023.

AI will then pair them up with potential partners based on users’ shared values, personal information and a questionnaire.

Responses have been mixed, with some believing that it will improve safety with that extra degree of trust, while others have questioned whether it is a good use of Japanese taxpayers’ money.

Some have argued that this simply appears to be another government attempt at halting the declining birthrate without considering underlying causes such as economic stability and less demanding work schedules.

Additionally, a total of 11 marriage consultation agencies filed for bankruptcy, with another 11 closing or suspending their operations, or being dissolved, The Mainichi newspaper reported earlier this year. Several schools have also been closed, including Yumoto Junior High in northern Japan, which only had two graduates in 2023, before closing its doors for good, according to Aljazeera. About 450 schools close every year, government data shows.

Japan is also facing growing labour shortages, with the Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, promising policies including financial aid for families, easier childcare access and extended parental leave.


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