An NHK poll shows that nearly 70 percent of people in Japan think marriage is not necessarily needed.
More than 2,700 men and women aged 16 and older across the country responded to the poll conducted in June and July of last year.
Sixty-eight percent of the respondents said they think marriage is "not necessarily needed," while 27 percent said they consider marriage "a norm."
The percentage of people who consider marriage as not necessarily required rose by five percentage points from the previous poll in 2013. The figure is the highest since NHK began asking the question in 1993.
By age bracket, those in their 30s had the highest proportion of people willing to forgo marriage, at 88 percent. The percentage was the lowest for those in their 70s, at 43 percent.
Asked whether they think a married couple should have a child, 60 percent of the respondents said they don't think so, while 33 percent thought otherwise.
Yokohama National University Professor Yumiko Ehara says the results do not simply mean that an increasing number of people have negative feelings about marriage.
She says she believes many Japanese people are still willing to marry if they find a good partner.
She added that she sees the survey's outcome as a result of the widespread notion that people can choose whatever lifestyle they like.