5-speed listening (Level 4)

Japanese government to play matchmaker






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Japan's government is playing Cupid to get more couples to have babies. Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. It is trying new ways to get people to have children. One of these is matchmaking. Japan will support local government projects for speed dating, matchmaking and other ways to coax couples to get together. There will be big efforts over the next five years to fix this "critical situation". Japan could face serious social problems.

One reason for Japan's falling birth rate is the cost of having children. The government hopes it can help with this. These include plans for free nurseries, help with fertility treatment, and taking paternity leave to 80% by 2020. There are also plans to help families with three or more children. By 2060, nearly 40% of people in Japan will be over 65. They already make up 25%. The birth rate fell from 4.54 children per mother in 1947 to just 1.42 in 2014.

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