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Tokyo Government Launching Dating App to Combat Falling Birthrates

A couple takes photos during Japan’s Sakura festival.
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  • The government of Tokyo is launching an app to help its citizens find love — and get married.
  • Japan is experiencing record-low birth and marriage rates and the numbers are particularly bad in Tokyo.
  • Elon Musk, who has called population decline a greater threat than climate change, tweeted his support for the app.

In February, Japan’s government said “unprecedented steps” must be taken to tackle the country’s record-low birth rates.

Tokyo’s government got the message.

The city has invested $1.28 million in a dating app for its residents, due to be launched this summer.

The app, run by a private contractor, has a rigorous registration process to ensure users are committed to marriage as an end goal.

Japanese national newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported that the app requests not just a photo ID but also an income certificate and an official document confirming your relationship status.

The outlet said that there are 15 categories of personal data to fill out on the app, including height, education, and occupation — all of which will be visible to potential matches.

After that, users attend a mandatory interview with the app’s operators before signing a pledge promising that they are looking for a marriage partner and not just a casual relationship.

“If there are many individuals interested in marriage but unable to find a partner, we want to provide support,” a Tokyo official said, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

Officials admitted it was rare for a local government to develop a match-making app, but they said they hoped the officially endorsed app would encourage people reluctant to use mainstream apps.

The government app comes as Japan faces critically low birth and marriage rates.

On Wednesday, data released by Japan’s Health Ministry revealed that its birth rate fell 5.6% in 2023 to its lowest level since Japan started recording statistics in 1899. Marriage rates were down 6% compared to 2023.

In Tokyo, the numbers are even worse. The city’s fertility rate, the number of children a woman is expected to give birth to during her lifetime, was 0.99 in 2023 — the only prefecture that failed to reach 1.00.

Overall, the country’s 125 million-ageing population is projected to fall 30% by 2070, which could have dangerous implications for the country’s economy and national security.

Japan’s government has put aside $34 billion in the 2024 budget for childcare and parental services.

Elon Musk, who is passionate about fighting population decline, tweeted his support for the app, saying he was “glad the government of Japan recognizes the importance of this matter.”

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The Tesla CEO has voiced his belief a number of times that globally low birth rates could lead to “population collapse.” He has called the issue “a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming.”

“If radical action isn’t taken, Japan (and many other countries) will disappear!” Musk said in response to the app announcement.

 

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