Swipe right please: Japanese officials push dating apps in effort to boost birth rates

In Asia

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An illustration of receiving heart notifications on a smartphone.

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Japanese officials are encouraging their single citizens to get out and mingle through the promotion of dating apps in a bid to foster marriage amid record low birth rates. 

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been at the forefront of such efforts and is expected to launch its own government-backed dating app as early as this year.  

Already, it has been running a dating app test program called “Tokyo Futari Story,” which aims to match individuals using artificial intelligence. “Futari” refers to a pair or couple in Japan, a country where remaining single and unmarried has become increasingly normalized.

Tokyo Futari Story asks participants to submit various identification documents, including tax forms verifying annual income and an official certificate of single status. Users also take a diagnostic test so the app can learn about their values ​​and what they’re looking for in a partner.

According to local paper The Asahi Shimbun, the official fee-based version of the app will also require users to sign a pledge promising they are serious about finding a marriage partner rather than seeking a casual relationship.

Japan is facing 'major, major' demographic issues, says Morgan Stanley economist

Officials hope the app, operated by a private contractor, will eliminate credibility problems that have plagued existing dating apps, the paper said, adding that the city had invested $1.28 million in the project.

While the private contractor involved in “Tokyo Futari Story” has not been identified, at least one local government in Tokyo has signed a cooperation agreement with local dating app giant Tapple aimed at providing meeting and marriage support to citizens. 

Tapple has signed at least six other partnership agreements with local governments across Japan, including Ureshino, Hokkaido and Himeji. 

The company says it is working to help solve the issue of declining birth rates by raising awareness of safe and secure matching apps and promoting their appropriate use.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Swipe right please: Japanese officials push dating apps in effort to boost birth rates

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