CHINA DAILY - Mar 23 - As one of Japan's latest efforts to boost its tumbling birth rate, the rapidly graying nation has turned to AI for matchmaking, and Koitama is the local version of the central government's latest campaign. In Japanese, the word "koi" translates as "love". Because it is a government-led program, there are all kinds of requirements aimed at making people feel safe, such as having to provide proof that users are single. According to Japan's Cabinet Office, the central government plans to allocate 2B yen ($19M) this year to support local authorities that run programs to help residents find love. According to Statista, the market size of online matchmaking services for dating and marriage-seeking in Japan last year reached 62B yen, up from 26B yen in 2017. The market is forecast to grow by 70% from last year to 2025. However, this trend has failed to reverse the country's declining birth and marriage rates. Japan's population is declining at one of the fastest rates globally. In 2019, the number of births fell to 865K the lowest annual figure ever. ~35% of Japan's population is expected to be 65 or older by 2050. The number of marriages each year in Japan has fallen from 800K in 2000 to 600K in 2019.