Love match: Tokyo will help fund Japanese AI Cupid’s upgrade report

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FILE PHOTO: A wedding display case is seen at an official Rugby World Cup hotel in Sapporo, Japan, September 23, 2019. REUTERS / Edgar Su / File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese government plans to step up efforts to stem the country’s plummeting birth rate by helping fund more sophisticated artificial intelligence matchmaking systems, media reported on Monday.

The number of births in 2019 fell 5.8% to around 865,000, the lowest annual figure on record: a drop in the number of marriages and an increase in the age of marriage both played a role.

In a country with a long history of human matchmakers, local governments have already switched to AI matchmaking systems to match people, but many only consider criteria such as income and age and produce results. results only if there is an exact match.

The latest funding being considered by the central government will allow access to systems that match people with a potential partner even if those income or age wishes don’t match, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

A number of Japanese prefectures already have such systems in place, which take into account hobbies and values ​​and produce a wider range of results, but they can be costly.

Saitama, just north of Tokyo, spent 15 million yen ($ 144,000) in the fiscal year ended March 2019, but saw some 21 couples heading for the altar. Government data shows that the number of marriages fell by 200,000 in Japan from 2000 to last year.

The national government will guarantee about 60% of the cost of more sophisticated AI systems, out of the 2 billion yen it is asking to tackle the falling birth rate in next year’s tax budget, the Yomiuri added. .

A Cabinet Office official confirmed the figure, but added: “We are just spending money to fight the falling birth rate, it’s up to local governments how to spend it.”

($ 1 = 104.2400 yen)

Reporting by Elaine Lies; edited by Philippa Fletcher


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