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And whenever anyone got too shy, elderly volunteers from a local "marriage-promotion committee" would step in to guide the conversation along. As it tries to revive its sputtering economy, the Japanese government hopes women like Abiko will pursue their careers at work and also have plenty of children.Nozomi Abiko, 22, who works at a local bank, came to the event after her boss gathered all the single women in the office and suggested they attend the annual dating event. The world's third-largest economy is in dire need of more people: Japan's population shrank by one million to 127 million in the five years through 2015, according to the World Bank.No awkward messages to each other unless both say yes.
Nearly all local governments in the country are trying to play matchmaker these days.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to bring more women into the workforce are falling short.
Challenging traditional gender roles can be an extremely unpopular move in Japan, where many people still support the idea that a woman's place is at home.
Fukui, a prefecture on the western coast, has hosted an online dating service since 2010, making it a pioneer in government-supported romance.
The prefecture of Hiroshima has managed some degree of success: 15 couples who met through dating events that started last year have since married, and one baby arrived this summer.Credit mobile dating apps such as Tinder, which incorporate fun elements and are dead simple to use.