"It's becoming harder to meet suitable partners these days and that's one reason why people are getting married later," says party organiser Natsuko Minami."Women used to be able to rely on family introductions, such as aunts who arranged meeting a suitable man. Women now have to find lovers on their own." Alternatively, company bosses used to take on the role of matchmaker for their staff, although this is rare now."One of Japan's problems is that so few children are being born," says Mr Saeki, president of Exeo."That's why the local governments are coming up with incentives to encourage people to get married and give birth.Exeo is one company that hosts speed-dating events.“That’s why the local governments are coming up with incentives to encourage people to get married and give birth.
By the time I turned up, most of the participants had already arrived, and a tense air of expectation speed dating tokyo exeo the air as they eyed each other up."I'm embarrassed to be doing this." Love hurts Many of the people at the party seems to echo the same problems.They spend a long time in the office and so they have little time to invest in finding love.At one event in central Tokyo, run by a firm called Exeo, 20 men and women cram into a small upstairs room in the hope of finding somebody special.Each pairing gets two minutes, before everyone swaps partners.Falling population And local governments in Japan are prepared to provide financial support for the businesses that organise dating events as part of its efforts to tackle what it sees as a major social problem. Schools that were once full of baby boomers are now being closed down owing to a lack of children - more than 2,000 over the past decade alone.As the population ages, more strain is being placed on the state pension system.But speed dating parties, as such events are known, are proving increasingly common in many countries.In Japan, though, some are paid for by the government.Some couples seem to hit off instantly, while others are shy and conversation is muted."I don't have a girlfriend and it's difficult to meet women at work, so that's why I am here" says Hiroshi Nakahara, an office worker.