Japanese government getting in on the online dating business

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Online Dating

Despite studies showing its cities are bursting with people who have little personal space, Japan has a declining birthrate and population. (U.S. births are also on the decline.) The government's solution? Start an internet dating site.

That's right: the Japanese government wants more couples to have children once their married, so they are planning to get involved in the development of the country's relationships from the beginning. In doing so, they will attempt to influence it all the way to the point of Octomomism:

Called the Fukui Marriage-Hunting Cafe, the website makes no attempt to disguise its purpose. And, as if wedded bliss were not its own reward, authorities will offer cash or gifts to couples who tie the knot. "Our goal is to first help people meet each other and then support them as they get married and raise children," says Akemi Iwakabe, deputy director of Fukui's Children & Families division.

At 1.34 children per woman, Japan's fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world, well below the 2.1 that is considered the minimum for a developed nation to maintain a constant population. That means the pool of workers and consumers is shrinking, while the ranks of pensioners are swelling. About 23 percent of the population is over 65, the highest ratio among the 62 countries tracked by Bloomberg. "It's difficult to breathe life back into an economy without children, without young people," says Naoki Iizuka, an economist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. "When an area like this keeps aging, the public finances of that government won't last." [Business Week]

Maybe our own government should get in on this, encouraging intelligent people to have kids and paying members of the Texas state legislature to not have any. To avoid Idiocracy, of course.