One day in May, a woman in her 40s was browsing a tablet computer at a municipality-funded matchmaking center, searching for a prospective husband. She was surprised; the computer suggested candidates she wouldn't have otherwise considered.

"It recommends people who were under my radar," she said at the center run by the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. "I have a wider range of options."

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, was one of many seeking to boost their marriage prospects through a local government matchmaking program.