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A Japanese city has encouraged people to swap dating apps for writing love letters, amid the country's low birthrate.

The city of Miyazaki launched the matchmaking scheme two years ago and says it has led to 32 face-to-face meetings and brought together 17 couples since then.

About 450 people have signed up so far, they say, with about 70 per cent in their 20s or 30s.

“It takes longer, and inspires you to imagine the person you’re in communication with,” Rie Miyata, the head of a local consulting firm commissioned to run the scheme, told Agence France-Presse.

“It’s less about how good your penmanship is and more the fact that you write every single character sincerely and with care, thinking deeply about the person you’re writing to. That’s what makes letters so powerful.”

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Applicants are screened and paired based on information such as their taste in books and films. Profile photos are forbidden so people strictly go off personality.

Then, people who have been paired are permitted to send and receive up to five letters. If they wish to meet, the consulting firm that runs the service then provides them with the contact details, according to local press.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has also started funding artificial intelligence matchmaking schemes with the number of babies being born in Japan sinking to a record low of 811,604 last year.

Could old-fashioned letters be the next Tinder?

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