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Japan launches government dating app to combat declining birth rates

Japan launches government dating app to combat declining birth rates

Since 1950, the global birth rate has halved. Statistically, marriages are few, divorce rates are rising, and socioeconomic conditions are making it increasingly difficult to start a family. Japan is one of the epicenters of this phenomenon, as revealed by the government itself, which has reported a worsening birth rate every year since 2015, with a 5.1% decline between 2022 and 2023. The Japanese government’s solution? Create a government-run dating app to boost the country’s birth rate. The app, created under the current administration of Fumio Kishida, cost 500 million yen (2.86 million euros) between 2023 and 2024 and should be ready for the Tokyo metropolitan public by the end of the summer. In order to make the platform more efficient and avoid sakura – people who cheat and scam in the dating world – the app includes a very long and thorough process of vetting the users who can use it. From education level to heightusers must answer approximately fifteen personal questions, which are then compared with official government documents.

The most controversial feature of the app is actually the registration process. According to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, when creating an account, each user must upload their official family status document – to verify that the person is not already married – and their personal income statementThe former stems from a recent trend among young Japanese, highlighted in the videos of Japanese content creator Takashii from Japan, where fidelity is seen as a gray area for both women and men, making infidelity not a moral harm – as it is seen in many countries – but simply a physical need that does not detract from feelings for partners. The latter has caused a lot of controversy, especially among interested men, who fear that information about their low wealth could hinder their chances of finding a partner. As officials explained to national newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, this option is not intended to exclude certain individuals, but is considered a crucial indicator to actually understand whether it is possible to start a family with the interested person. The intention of the app, as communicated to AFP by another official, is to give a commitment boost to the 70% of Japanese who are interested in marriage but have not yet found their soulmate and are not sure how to find one.

The government’s decision is based on the fact that the dating apps currently circulating in the country are not intended to be removed and most of them are only used for sexual purposes and temporary meetings. The creation of the new platform could be a temporary solution, but the reasons for Japan’s ever-declining birth rate remain unchanged. As several interviewees on the YouTube channel AsianBoss pointed out, the main reason is the toxic work culture: taxes keep rising and wages remain stagnant, forcing Japanese workers to stay in the office until late at night. The declining birth rate is not just a problem for Japan; China and South Korea are also complaining about the same issues, and all over the world, fewer people are willing to start a family. In the biggest moment of the global dating crisisWith Gen Z having less sex than any previous generation, could trusting our governments be the solution? The app is set to be released in time for late summer, so its effectiveness can’t yet be measured, but we suspect Japan could be the pioneer of the repopulation effort the world has been waiting for.