Japan plans to boost the nation's declining birth rate by funding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) matchmaking systems to help single people find love
According to Japan Today, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government plans to allocate JPY2 billion (RM77 million) next year to support local authorities running these schemes.
It is said around half of the nation's 47 prefectures already do offer human-run matchmaking services. However, they have been less than effective.
These existing matchmakers only consider criteria such as income and age, and only produce a result if there is an exact match of two people's preferences.
The government is encouraging AI technology as it will provide more sophisticated analyses about whether a pair will be a successful couple
A cabinet official said the AI system will help match an individual with a wider and better range of potential suitors according to more factors such as hobbies and personal values.
"We are especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI," said the official.
"We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation's birthrate."
The country's fertility rate was 1.36 last year - one of the world's lowest and far below the rate needed to maintain a population
Japan saw only 865,000 babies born in 2019, the lowest since records began in 1899.
South China Morning Post reported that the demographic crisis gets worse as the population is also rapidly aging, while having long life expectancy.
The nation's policymakers are racing to ensure its shrinking workforce can support the elderly population and meet the expanding cost of welfare.
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