Economists point to number of reasons for Japan’s shrinking youth population: more women in the workforce, the rising cost of caring for children and an increasing number of single adults are a few. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, fearing the economic consequences of an aging population, has called the low birthrate a priority for his government, and has taken measures to try to solve what could be a ticking time bomb for Japan’s economy.
In an effort to turn the numbers around, the Japanese government even took romance into its own hands and began offering matchmaking services to try to get young Japanese singletons to link up. Local authorities are encouraged to organize government-sanctioned speed dating events, where single people gather and have brief conversations with a number of potential partners. Volunteers from a marriage promotion committee are even on hand to help ease any awkwardness.