“Marriage” is decreasing in Japan. Is marriage hunting now in the era of “company ownership”?

February 27th 21:01

The number of couples getting married in a year has fallen below 500,000.

This is the same level as 90 years ago, when the population was about half of what it is now.

The number of marriages continues to decline.

Diversification of values ​​seems to be a factor, but various surveys have shown that there are many people who say they want to get married but haven't met anyone yet.

Arranged marriages, love marriages, and matchmaking apps...

The form of marriage has changed over time.

Recently, it seems that more and more companies are supporting marriage hunting through ``welfare programs''.

What does that mean?

We covered the scene.

(Social Affairs Department, Chieko Katsumata, Shiori Sugimoto, News Bureau Mobile Deployment Project, Jun Okamoto)

Encounters are “welfare benefits”

Megumi (pseudonym, works at a transportation company) and Kenta (pseudonym, works at a construction company) are a couple living in Chiba Prefecture.

The two, who work at different companies, met through a "matching app."

Moreover, it is said to be a ``company-only'' matching app that each company has joined for the benefit of their employees.


: ``I first learned about the app's existence when it was announced as a welfare benefit in my company's internal document. At first, I thought it was a joke, but I was just looking for a chance to meet people, and... I was so busy with work that I didn't have the energy to go out on my own to meet people, so I thought I'd give it a try.''

This is the mechanism of the matching app used by two people.

Subscribe to the matching service on a company-by-company basis.

If the company pays the fee, individuals can use it at a lower price, or in some cases can register for free.

Then, from among the approximately 1,000 companies that have joined, you will be introduced to people who work for companies other than your own.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to use internet services such as apps for marriage hunting.

In a survey conducted by Recruit Bridal Research Institute (2023), approximately 40% of people answered that they used an online "marriage hunting service."

On the other hand, services that are subscribed to by companies rather than individuals are rare.

When I asked them about the benefits, they all mentioned the keyword "peace of mind."

Megumi: `

`Only employees of registered companies can use the company-specific app, so I felt secure that my identity was correct and that it was clear that I was single. I think I was able to start without much resistance because I was recommending it.”


: ``With other apps, sometimes you don't know the identity of the other person, but this one is exclusive to the company, so I felt secure knowing that the woman I was dating was also working for the company.Also, there are benefits for single people. I think it's rare to have welfare benefits.If I hadn't used the app, I think I'd still be single."

From “Vivid” to “Psychological Safety”

We visited a company that developed a matching app "exclusively for companies."

Currently, approximately 1,000 companies including affiliated companies have subscribed to this service.

Why did you choose "for corporate use only"?

The key word is "psychological safety" in love.

At the company, the younger generation uses AI to analyze the ``conditions for falling in love with someone''.

As a result, they found that romantic feelings tend to develop when the other person satisfies criteria such as ``Can you support each other at work'' and ``Do you have a bright future in mind?''

"When we analyzed it, we found that about 90% of people step on the gas pedal and fall in love with someone after ensuring psychological safety. It's not an urge to get excited. This allows them to communicate with each other after understanding their values ​​regarding family, household chores, and work.This is something people really appreciate."

We have taken various measures to increase ``psychological safety.''

For example, not just any company can join the app.

Companies must meet certain conditions, such as being certified by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare as a "childcare support company."

Introducing partners from ``safe companies that understand child-rearing'' increases ``safety.''

In addition to filling out the usual profiles, both male and female employees enter their desired share of housework and childcare in detail in 10% increments.

For example, enter "50%" for the "ideal share of housework and childcare" and "60%" for the "acceptable share of housework and childcare."

Then, AI extracts employees from other companies that match the conditions.

This is a way to introduce yourself to others.

In addition, AI assists two people who meet, giving advice on the flow of the conversation, what questions to ask next, and even when to confess.

This type of system is said to be appreciated by couples who value efficiency and speed.

President Toyoshima

: ``Because it's exclusive to companies, you can communicate with peace of mind.What's more, by using AI, things go well quickly.''I think it's easy to work with us because we can act with peace of mind.''

Companies “have a positive impact on business performance”

On the other hand, what are the intentions of the companies that subscribe to this matching app?

We visited a major office furniture manufacturer that is a member.

The company, which has about 2,000 employees, said that many of its employees, especially young ones, were complaining that they were too busy to meet new people.

At that time, I learned of the existence of a matching app as a new "welfare benefit."

This was the first time for this company, which was founded in 1890, to support employees in finding marriage.

President Hiroshi Minato (53) looks back on the introduction of the system as follows.

"In my generation, face-to-face romance was the norm, such as blind dates and introductions by friends, so to be honest, there was a part of me that thought, 'What?' There is a high probability that you will meet someone who is compatible with you.I decided to change my way of thinking and implement it as a company."

Three years ago, I joined the app as a company.

How did employees react to the company's launch of this initiative?

Female employee with 7 years of experience

: ``At first I was a little surprised and thought, ``They're going to intrude into my private life,'' but when I looked inside, I realized that it's a service that I can use with peace of mind.''

1st year male employee

: ``When you work 5 days a week, you end up having fewer opportunities to meet new people.The fact that the company provides you with new opportunities to meet new people is a sign that they are thinking hard about work-life balance.'' Kanato”

Currently, approximately 300 employees are registered with this service.

The company covers the entire usage fee, and employees can use it for free.

So far, around 60 people have already found partners through the app.

President Minato

: ``I feel that by having a more fulfilling private life, my performance has improved, and this is having a positive impact on my business results.'' The message itself, ``I'm subscribing to a service that provides a place for my company to meet people,'' is very important. I think"

Arranged marriage?

love affair?


The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that the number of marriages for last year (2023) was 489,281 couples, a decrease of more than 5% from the previous year.

This is the first time since 1933, before the war, that the number has fallen below 500,000 pairs.

The form of marriage has changed over time.

According to a survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, in 1935, before the war, arranged marriages accounted for approximately 70% of marriages.

After the war, the proportion of love marriages gradually increased, and in the 1960s, the proportion of arranged marriages "reversed."

There has been an era in which love marriages accounted for nearly 90% of marriages.

However, in recent years, the number of ``internet marriages'' has increased rapidly, and the number of love marriages has declined.

Experts point out that in recent years, there has been a strong tendency among the younger generation to seek ``efficiency,'' and relationships that are not for the purpose of marriage are on the decline.

As a result, the need for matchmaking services such as matching apps is increasing.

Director of Recruit Bridal Research Institute Ayumu Ochiai

: ``A large percentage of people have never had a relationship, and they seem to have a negative attitude toward love.Furthermore, I think there is a mindset that emphasizes efficiency and rationality, especially among young people.'' .Love doesn't always yield results if you put in the time, and I think the idea of ​​``love for the purpose of marriage'' is spreading.Even so, it's hard to meet people.That's why we offer matchmaking services. I think something like that has spread.”

“AI is an “assistant” for getting to know each other”

The history of marriage has taken various forms depending on the era.

When the reporter asked his colleagues this time, he found that opinions varied depending on the generation, with some seniors thinking that marriage through matching apps was ``hmmm,'' while others said it was ``normal,'' and juniors said ``I'm envious of the welfare benefits.'' did.

However, the reality is that local governments are now spending their budgets on matchmaking apps as a countermeasure to the declining birthrate.

The couple that appeared at the beginning of the story met through a company-specific matching app.

Megumi says she is currently six months pregnant.

Megumi: `

`My husband does more housework than I expected, so it wasn't a lie when I registered the ``tolerance'' on the app (lol).I'm sure a lot of things will happen in the future, but I'm fulfilling my work life and having fun at home. I want to spend some time with you.”

Kenta: `

`It was easy to continue using the app because it had AI support. However, you need AI assistance after you meet, but once you get to the point where you get to know each other deeply, you don't need it. I don’t need it.”

(Broadcast on February 27th on “News 7” and “News Watch 9”)

Social Affairs Department Reporter

Chieko Katsumata Joined the agency

in 2010

After working at the Yamaguchi and Sendai bureaus, she is currently in her current position.She

has been in charge of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare since August last year.She

has covered topics such as population decline and health issues.

Social Affairs Department reporter

Shiori Sugimoto Joined

the agency in 2013

After working at the Kagoshima Bureau and Osaka Bureau, she is currently in charge

of the Children and Families Agency since August last year.

News Bureau Mobile Deployment Project Reporter

Jun Okamoto

Joined the station in 2010

After working at the Gifu bureau and Tottori bureau, he is currently at the bureau since August last year,

reporting on issues such as population decline and the elderly.