The 2-page handout

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Japan is trying to get more men and women to go on dates. It wants to increase its birth rate because there are fewer and fewer babies being born. Japan is going to use artificial intelligence (AI) to match couples and help residents find love. The government has decided to use $19 million next year to set the software up. There are already matchmaking services in half of Japan's 47 prefectures. These involve filling out forms and answering questions on hobbies and interests. A worker then matches people based on the answers. Some prefectures are now starting AI projects to automate the system. AI software can perform a more advanced analysis of data and get better matches.

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The government hopes the project will increase the size of the population. Japan's fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world. The average number of children a Japanese woman is expected to have in her lifetime is 1.36. This figure is continuing to go down, which is why the government is trying the AI programme. A government spokesperson said: "We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation's birth rate." Japan's population is rapidly ageing because people are living longer. The longevity rate for women is the highest in the world. This is a problem for the economy. There are fewer and fewer younger workers to pay for the pension and welfare costs of retired people.



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