In response to an unprecedented population decline, the Japanese government has taken an unconventional step by investing taxpayer money in a dating app named Tapple. The app aims to connect individuals based on mutual hobbies and interests, aiming to address the country’s demographic challenges.
Tokyo, the nation’s capital, stands out with the highest percentage of never-married individuals at 50, reflecting a broader trend of a solitary lifestyle in Japan. Tapple’s website encourages users with a rhetorical question, “Why don’t you find a nice lover too?”—a loose translation from Japanese.
The demographic landscape reveals that one in 10 Japanese residents is 80 and above, contributing to the country’s title of the world’s oldest population. This aging population poses a significant challenge as elderly individuals typically do not contribute to procreation. In response, the government has turned its attention to the younger demographic, employing matchmaking apps and virtual dating as potential solutions.
Dating apps have emerged as a popular method for seeking romantic partners, with Tokyo’s 2021 survey indicating that 14.5 percent of respondents favor these platforms. To ensure the authenticity of users and deter married individuals, the app’s verification process requires documentation from users’ hometowns to confirm their unmarried status. Through this verification strategy, Tokyo aims to leverage social media to address abuse concerns, anticipating a positive impact on the industry.
Despite these efforts, skepticism persists. As reported by the South China Morning Post, critics question the efficacy of a taxpayer-funded dating app to solve the challenges singles face. They argue that fundamental issues such as financial constraints are at the root of the decline in marriages and childbirth. A government estimate reveals that up to 42 percent of Japanese women born in 2005 may choose not to embrace motherhood, posing a potential threat to the nation’s social security program.
In response to critics, some argue that the government should prioritize addressing these fundamental issues rather than investing in dating apps. Financial constraints, difficulties in meeting potential partners, and discomfort with private matchmaking services are significant obstacles to marriage.
The question remains: Can a dating app effectively tackle the complex challenges in a nation ranked as the world’s third loneliest? Only time will tell.