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Tokyo to launch dating app

The move comes as part of the Japanese government’s effort to boost the declining national birth rate

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is preparing to launch its own dating app as part of a national effort to boost the country’s dwindling birth rate, The Japan Times reported on Wednesday, citing a government official.

The app will be called ‘Tokyo Futari Story’, with ‘futari’ meaning two people, or a couple. Users of the app will be asked to provide documentation indicating that they are single, go through an interview to confirm their identity, and sign a paper stating that they are willing to get married. 

A special website offering counsel and general information to those seeking a partner is already up, while the actual app remains in development. According to Tokyo authorities, the mobile and web version of the service are expected to be launched later this year.

“We learned that 70% of people who want to get married aren’t actively joining events or apps to look for a partner,” the Tokyo government official in charge of the new app was quoted as saying by The Japan Times. “We want to give them a gentle push to find one.”

According to Japan’s Health Ministry, in 2023, the country recorded only 799,728 births, compared to 1.58 million deaths.

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Japan’s population is also getting older; the median age was 49 in 2023. The number of people over 65 exceeded 29% last year, giving Japan the second-largest proportion of elderly people in the world, behind only Monaco.

“Japan is standing on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last year. “Focusing attention on policies regarding children and childrearing is an issue that cannot wait and cannot be postponed.”

Masako Mori, an aide to Kishida, also warned last year that the country could simply “disappear” if nothing is done to address the demographic crisis. The country’s total fertility rate was a mere 1.3 births per woman in 2021 and hasn’t been above replacement level since the 1970s.

Meanwhile, in Russia, the population has also been in decline, falling by some 244,000 people in 2023. Lawmakers have been looking into launching state-backed dating services now that many Western apps, like Tinder, have stopped working in the country. 

Last month, State Duma MP Vitaly Milonov suggested using the Russian government’s state service platform Gosuslugi to help single people find a partner. 


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