Govt mulls support for marriage-hunting activities

Govt mulls support for marriage-hunting activities

Amid the low birthrate, the government is considering financially supporting locally organised events for people seeking marriage partners, it has been learned.

Within the government, there has been a proposal to set up a fund-tentatively named "a fund to weather the nation's low birthrate crisis"-to cover such events from fiscal 2014, according to sources.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet has been active in working on countermeasures to the chronically low birthrate. As part of them, the Cabinet Office on Monday will have a meeting with a task force to tackle the issue.

The meeting will be headed by Masako Mori, state minister in charge of measures for the low birthrate. Members, including experts in the field, will likely discuss the proposal to set up a fund.

Under the proposal, the Cabinet Office is considering setting up funds in Tokyo and all other prefectures, which can be used for various purposes from marriage to childbirth while also establishing a framework in which each local government will subsidize the expense of marriage partner-seeking events.

For those who are married, but hesitant to have a child for economic reasons, the Cabinet Office also is considering building an aid system in which newlyweds and families with many children are given priority for entering public housing.

According to Prof. Katsuhiro Miyamoto at Kansai University, locally organised partner-seeking events can generate positive economic effects.

If events with 300 participants are held 2,000 times a year, it is estimated they will create an economic effect of about ¥140 billion (S$1.8 billion) annually from the resultant dating and marriage expenses by those who start seeing each other and decide to tie the knot, according to the report released in May by the theoretical economist. Concluding that supporting marriage partner-seeking activities will eventually boost consumption and lead to regional revitalization, the Cabinet Office has stepped up its support.

Mie Gov. Eikei Suzuki, a task force member and advocate of child-support programs, seeks the establishment of a fund to aid partner-seeking activities as a revenue source to intensively support countermeasures to the low birthrate, a project he thinks will require more than five years.

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