Japan’s biggest city wants to hook you up with someone.

Finding a romantic partner can be hard in Japan. A lot of the country’s socializing consists of group interactions centered on student clubs or work departments, but if they don’t present any appealing prospects, Japanese social norms aren’t always very conducive to meeting someone new.

Dating apps, though, offer the potential to meet a special someone from outside the school/work-related dating pools, and soon Tokyoites will have a new app to harness in their search for romance. What sets this one apart? It’s a dating app designed and run by the Tokyo government.

As for why the Tokyo metropolitan government wants to help you find a date, it’s all part of the administration’s efforts to boost Japan’s sagging birth rate, under the logic that you’re not likely to decide to have a baby with someone unless you’re in a steady relationship, and you can’t have a stead relationship until you’ve had your first date together. “Tokyo is looking to provide seamless support, from first meeting to marriage to childbirth, so that anyone who wants to get married and have children can do so,” said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in describing the app.

The dating app can be used by anyone age 18 or older who lives, works, or goes to school in Tokyo. The hope is that, as an official government-administered program, singles will have more faith in Tokyo’s dating app and feel less apprehensive about using it than they would other online dating services, many of which have shady stigmas.

▼ “Sakura” isn’t just the Japanese word for cherry blossom. It’s also a sang term for someone who scams people on dating sites, and we’ve met more than one.

In order to make sure that users’ trust isn’t misplaced, though, the Tokyo dating app will require some extra verification steps when registering. At sign-up, you’ll be required to submit a photo ID and either a copy of your family register or other paperwork proving that you’re not already married. You’ll also be required to disclose your annual income, documented through income tax and tax withholding documents. Other data you must provide, and which will be viewable by other users of the app, are your height, information regarding your highest level of formal education obtained, and, if applicable, the type of work you do.

New users will also have an interview with a human administrator, which can be done online, followed by a computer-based personality assessment. All of that information then gets fed into the app’s AI system, which it uses as the basis to introduce other users of the app who you’re, according to its analysis, most likely to hit it off with.

Hey dude, you should totally ask this girl out!
Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Surprisingly, among the final details the Tokyo government is hammering out is whether or not to charge users for using the app, as it hasn’t yet declared that it will be free. It’s unclear if a service fee would be to cover operating costs or if it’s another way to try to ensure that everyone who’s using the system is doing so in good faith and not just creating scam/troll accounts.

It’s not all that unusual for local governments to play matchmaker in Japan, but such initiatives are usually held by smaller, more rural towns with smaller populations. They most commonly take the form of in-person speed-dating-style events too, so a municipality as big as the entirety of Tokyo deigning its own dating app is something that’s grabbing people’s attention, since it represents a continually running way for millions of singles to meet one another.

A preliminary build of the Tokyo dating app launched last winter, but the complete, finalized version is expected to launch sometime this summer.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, Nitele News
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!