"We'd like to go out for dinner first, and start our relationship little by little," said one man, on his way out the door with his new girlfriend. Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the place where 15 couples who met through dating events have since married.
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Fukui, a prefecture on the western coast, has hosted an online dating service since 2010, making it a pioneer in government-supported romance.
The prefecture of Hiroshima has managed some degree of success: 15 couples who met through dating events that started last year have since married, and one baby arrived this summer.
And so the government is trying other options, including a housing stipend for those who marry and free early education for families with at least three children.
At the town's recent dating event, eight couples had paired up by the end of the day.
Many of them "strongly believe that encouraging women to work reduces the birth rate, and leads to more divorce," said Machiko Osawa, a labor economist at Japan Women's University, who has long championed women's rights.
"That is one of the reasons why many politicians are reluctant to promote women working outside [the home]." Some experts argue, though, that a more equal share of bread-winning and housework duties between the sexes will mean happier men and women -- and therefore, more babies. Both rank among the top 20 in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap index and boast fertility rates far higher than that of Japan, which ranks 101st out of 145 countries on the index.
Challenging traditional gender roles can be an extremely unpopular move in Japan, where many people still support the idea that a woman's place is at home.Pictures of the successful couples are plastered on brochures in Hiroshima as a reminder to singletons to hurry up.Private businesses have also sprung up, such as a dating cram school in Ibaraki prefecture on the eastern coast, where Kyoko Ishiduka counsels singles on how to court each other."The men are too shy to talk to the women, so I always encourage them," she said.But three years of speed dating in Ishioka has only yielded two married couples.To begin making emotional connections with someone you hope is right for you and vice versa, it will take more than just a few letters.Our VIP Membership allows you to send and receive unlimited letters, including photographs, with no additional fees.If you’ve dreamed of finding someone from overseas for a serious relationship, Fiancéprovides many ways for you to actually get to know her before making any serious financial commitments or complex travel decisions.Most of our competitors charge you money for each letter you send or receive from girls listed in their site.Fiancéis the leading introduction and relationship building service of its kind.Our members receive the widest access, the best customer care and affordable, reliable services available anywhere.