Omiai is the tradition of arranged marriages in Japan, and it was a very large component of finding relationships in Japan, up until the 60s. Indeed, according to Typing the Knot, just half a century ago, around 70% of all marriages were arranged marriages, but by 1998, that number fell to less than 10%. Now, whether arranged marriages are “good” or not is beyond the scope of this article. There are benefits and there are negatives.
However, Japan is facing a demographics problem. Not only is its population getting older, it is also declining. On Seeking Alpha, I wrote an article about Japan’s immigration policy and its markets. I pointed out this fact. But I did not really go into reasons why I thought this was the case. I have a possible answer for the cause of the decline. Now, I admit that I have little evidence for what I am about to suggest. This is mostly conjecture, but it is reasonable, and can be tested through surveys and other sociology techniques.
As of 2016, the United States had an approximate birthrate of 12.5 per 1000. Japan, on the other hand, had a birth rate of only 7.8 per thousand. (World Factsheet) According to surveys on the topic, a lot of young adults in Japan simply do not want children. But this does not explain why the shift is occurring. Omiai does. The fact that, up until a couple of generations ago, most people, in Japan, entered into relationships that were arranged for them, there was no culture of dating.
Westernization brought with it a move away from arranged marriage, but it takes far more fully adjust to dating as the primary method of finding relationships. To be honest, even for those people, in nations where dating has long been the norm, it can still be difficult. It is not surprising that the Japanese people would have trouble adapting to a completely different system of finding relationships.
Again, this is not the entire reason behind the decline in Japanese population growth, but it does make sense that it is a component of it. Therefore, in order to combat the declining population, either arranged marriages will have to start becoming more common again, or a “culture of dating” will need to be heavily adopted in Japan. Going back to the topic of immigration, I do think that opening the border would help a lot. Immigrants would bring with them such a culture, and would increase population, not only directly by their movement into the country, but also by increasing the birth rate.