Calling All Lovers. . .

Lonely hearts are prowling the streets of Japan, armed not with romantic haiku or sultry looks, but with the ultimate matchmaking tool of the electronic age.

The love beeper.

While the real name of the gadget, "Lovegety," might not be very fetching, the toy's makers - and the 400,000 souls who have bought one already - are hoping it'll open the door to romance.

The word "Lovegety" is a rather straightforward mix of "love" and "get." It's an oval disc that fits in your hand. It's carried on forays into crowded places and sends out different signals, depending upon the setting.

When someone of the opposite sex carrying a Lovegety comes into range, the two machines beep or flash. Then it's up to the would-be lovers to seek each other out - or run the other way.

The device, which came out in February, has three settings for favorite activities: "karaoke" for romantic crooners, "chat" for those who want to talk, and "friends" for something, well, more intimate.

" you a way to start a chat," said Takeya Takafuji, executive planning director for the manufacturer, Erfolg. "It's just one way to meet people."