Tokyo’s surprising idea to reverse the trend – L’Express

Tokyos surprising idea to reverse the trend – LExpress

It’s the latest idea from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to encourage its residents to find their other half and start a family. In Japan, a country experiencing a serious birth rate problem and where the government has just announced a series of measures to try to reverse this trend, the capital’s town hall will launch its own dating application. Entitled “Tokyo Futari Story” (“Futari” meaning “couple”, in Japanese), the application will use artificial intelligence to match singles. “Based on ‘your values’ and the ‘values ​​you want in a partner’ determined from a test, the AI ​​will introduce you to people compatible with you”, indicates the platform on its website.

The application has the particularity of being aimed at candidates seeking a long-term union. To attest to the “seriousness” of their intentions, users will have to provide an administrative certificate proving that they are legally single, as well as a letter declaring that they are looking for a soul mate with whom to marry. Proof of income is also required.

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“We have learned that 70% of people who want to get married do not participate in events (marriage meetings, editor’s note) or are not on applications to find a partner,” a senior official told AFP. Tokyo government in charge of the new application. “We want to give them a little boost” with this new tool, which is currently in the testing phase, he added.

Applications, events, guides

A “boost” amounted to $1.28 million, according to an official cited by the American channel CNBC. If the name of the company responsible for developing this application is not yet known, the American channel recalls that the “Tapple” application, very popular in Japan, has already signed several partnerships with Japanese municipalities to encourage residents to use it. to meet. As part of its efforts to promote marriage, the capital of Tokyo also hosts events for singles, and publishes guides providing dating advice, such as recommendations for places in the city to plan a date. , or clothing suggestions.

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The Tokyo project sparked a lot of negative comments on Japanese social media. “Should the government do this with our taxes?” asked an Internet user. But others said they were interested because they would feel more secure with an official application, specifies AFP.

“Seven years” to reverse the trend

If the capital uses so much zeal to encourage its inhabitants to meet and start a family, it is because the country is facing a significant demographic decline, showing a new historic drop in the birth rate in 2023. According to the Japan Timesciting data from the Ministry of Health published Wednesday June 5, “the birth rate in Japan reached a new record of 1.20 in 2023 (…). The latest figure is down 0.06 points per compared to the previous year and the lowest since the government began keeping records in 1947, underscoring the rapid pace at which society is aging.”

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“Various factors, such as economic instability and difficulties juggling work and family life,” can explain these constantly declining figures, a ministry official commented to AFP. According to the estimates of the National Population and Social Security Research Institute, if current trends continue, Japan’s population will decline by about 30% by 2027 to 87 million people, with nearly half (40%) will be aged 65 or over.

A demographic imbalance which weighs on the retirement, health and even health insurance systems and generates labor shortages in the labor market. Estimating that it has “six or seven years” ahead of it to reverse the trend, the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced this week a series of measures to boost the birth rate, such as increasing family allowances. The government should also discuss whether health insurance will cover childbirth from 2026, according to the Japan Times.