Tokyo launches dating app to boost birth rate

Japan's capital will launch its own dating app as early as this summer as part of the government's efforts to boost the country's falling birth rate, an official said.

Users will have to provide documents proving they are legally single and sign a letter saying they want to get married.

Stating one's income is common on Japanese dating apps, but Tokyo will require a tax certificate document to prove annual salary.

"We learned that 70% of people who want to get married don't actively join events or apps to look for a partner," a Tokyo government official in charge of the new app told AFP.

"We want to give them a gentle push to find a partner," he said.

It's not uncommon for municipalities to organize events to find partners in Japan, where the birth rate dropped to a new low in 2023, but it's rare for a local government to develop an app.

An interview will be required to confirm a user's identity as part of the registration process for the app in Tokyo, which has been in a free trial version since late last year.

Many social media users expressed skepticism about the plans, with one saying, "Is this something the government should be doing with our tax dollars?"

Others wrote that they were interested as they would feel safer.

Last year, Japan recorded more than twice as many deaths from newborn babies.

Births declined for the eighth straight year to 758,631, down 5.1 percent, preliminary government data show. The number of deaths was 1,590,503.

The country faces a growing labor shortage and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised policies including financial aid for families, easier access to child care and more parental leave. | BGNES