TOKYO -- Japanese companies that specialize in helping people find marriage partners are setting up shop in markets like Taiwan and Thailand, where a growing number of women remain unwed into their late 20s and 30s. IBJ will bring its mainstay in-person marriage consultation business to Taiwan in , with plans to send instructors from Japan to train 10 or so counselors. Between the events and personalized service, the company aims to generate annual sales of 1 billion yen within a few years.
Zwei, owned by Aeon and another leading industry player, began offering matchmaking services in Thailand two years ago.
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It initially targeted Thais there before expanding to Japanese expatriates last year. A survey by Hokuhodo of to year-old women in major Southeast Asian cities showed Singapore to have the highest percentage of unmarrieds, at Next came Malaysia, with While still lower than Tokyo's Although online matchmaking services are growing more popular throughout Asia, Japanese-style in-person consultation is still uncommon in most countries.
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Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia. The woman was unmarried and estranged from her parents.
Matchmaking in Japan
Saito herself married at 28, considered late at the time. She had an arranged marriage - people around her recommended her future husband - and ever since she has wanted to return the favour to others.
Upon marriage, Saito quit her job at a regional bank. Still, she contributed to the household budget and established a nest egg while raising three children, taking on odd jobs such as private home tutoring and part-time work at a local social welfare council.
There are no special qualifications required for matchmaking, but Saito did obtain qualification as a marriage and child-rearing counselor. She learned the basics of establishing a business at seminars organised by a financial institution.
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Once her children were independent, she started her business. She drew on her nest egg to pay this amount.
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Saito set up an office in a building near JR Sapporo Station. She found that many people who came for consultations were parents who wanted to help their children find a partner, and this gave her the idea to hold gatherings especially for parents. It became a success. Her business is doing well. Saito and her husband also have a pension, and she says the combined income is plenty for the two of them to live comfortably.
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Saito's matchmaking has now produced about happily married couples. She has also established a nonprofit organisation to help low-income earners who have given up hope of marriage. The national census revealed that
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