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Over 50% of Japan municipalities supporting singles in pursuit of marriage

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- More than 50 percent of local governments in Japan are supporting single men and women through matchmaking and marriage seminars to help them get married, a Kyodo News survey showed Saturday, highlighting public efforts to curb the nation's dwindling birthrate and depopulation.

    The survey, conducted from June to August, also found that a total of around 376,000 people participated in matchmaking events and other related programs, resulting in 6,177 couples getting married.

    Of Japan's 1,741 municipalities, 932 -- accounting for 53.5 percent of the total -- said they are organizing such programs on their own for those who want to tie the knot, according to the survey.

    While some say the initiatives have been successful and have helped revitalize their local economies, others struggle with low participation rates at matchmaking events.

    The survey was based on the responses of 1,579 local governments. Of those, 59 percent said they are "conducting" programs to support marriage, while 6 percent implemented them but have since stopped them.

    Meanwhile, 35 percent of respondents said they are "not conducting" any of the programs.

    On the benefits of such public assistance, 14.9 percent of 806 local governments which responded to the particular question said it made a difference, while 67.2 percent said there was a certain level of impact.

    For example, the city of Miyazaki in southwestern Japan said its initiative has led to marriage, while Minobu town in Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan, said its project has helped boost its profile and economy.

    Local governments saying there was no impact and not much impact accounted for 3.6 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively. They cited a lack of participants and no successful case of marriage as a result of their undertakings.

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