South Korean bureaucrats try ministry of matchmaking

Fri Jan 8, 2010 3:03am EST
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SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - A South Korean government ministry will help bureaucrats date, mate and procreate in order to boost the country's falling birthrate.

The health ministry plans a matchmaking program where it will bring single public servants together for social gatherings and community service work in the hopes of fostering love among available bureaucrats looking to wed.

The ministry has been doing its homework on the unmarried.

"We found that single people fall into certain categories, much like the unemployed," said Choi Jin-sun of the ministry's human resources development division.

It will split the unmarried between those that way by choice and those by circumstance, and has devised plans to help any segment of the unwed population find a partner and settle down.

The government in late 2009 unveiled a plan to boost South Korea's birthrate, the lowest in the developed world.

The country is graying quickly and needs to boost the population to expand the economy and provide payments to government coffers for the increased welfare spending that comes with an aging society.

"We're not talking about a one-time mass meeting among singles, but regular, constant opportunities where singles can meet and mingle naturally," said Choi.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)