|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
From April 2007, a new law goes into force that gives wives claim to up to one-half of their husband's retirement pension in the event of separation or divorce, the actual percentage based on mutual agreement, out-of-court mediation or legal settlement.
Shukan Post (9/15) notes an interesting statistical phenomenon: Japan's divorces peaked at around 290,000 in 2002 and then began declining, reaching the 260,000-level in 2005.
Actually, notes Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at the research division of Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance, this decline started at the same time the new law was passed in June 2003, and the general consensus is that women are biding their time for the law to go into force next April, after which the number of divorces may "explode."
Out of the total number of divorces, as many as 42,000 cases may involve divvying up of the husband's pension.
Another harbinger of this likelihood comes from a source at a private detective agency.
"Since around May of this year, we've been getting a sharp rise in requests by wives to track their husbands' activities," says Toshiyuki Sakai, a private investigator.
"The clients are not only interested in uncovering their husband's marital infidelity, but also want to know if they spend large amounts going out drinking at cabarets or in gambling casinos.
I suppose their aim is to use this information as ammunition at the divorce hearing."
Is your marriage likely to fall casualty of the new statute?
Shukan Post provides a 10-point checklist of warning signs that may indicate a split is imminent.
1. She becomes sullen, and her responses to what you say seem listless and indifferent.
2. She refuses invitations to go out shopping or eating together, but without stating any reason.
3. She stops nagging you about trying to keep healthy, such as complaints about your drinking or smoking.
"If she doesn't complain, even if you drag yourself in the door very late when coming home from drinking, don't make the mistake of thinking to yourself that she's become more tolerant or open-minded," warns Sanae Kameyama, a journalist who often writes about divorce.
"The greater apathy a wife shows toward her husband's behavior, the worse the situation may have become."
4. The meals she prepares contain more ready-made or semi-prepared items from the supermarket.
5. She stops meeting your parents or other relatives.
(This may portend preparations for a complete break in family relations.)
6. You see her engaging in stealthy conversations with your children.
7. She changes her hairstyle or devotes more efforts to creating a fashionable appearance.
("Changes like this may mean that she's begun to search for another man," says Ms. Kameyama.)
8. She begins searching for an attorney or marriage counselor.
("If you catch her reading books with titles like 'Independence' or 'Your second life,' this is a sign that trouble's brewing," notes Atsuko Okano, a marriage counselor.)
9. She starts work at a new job or becomes a regular staff member at a company.
10. She begins tallying up your personal assets.
Positive replies to one to two of these, suggests Shukan Post, might mean she's giving consideration to a divorce.
From three to five, things could get very dangerous unless you show a more conciliatory posture toward your wife.
From six to eight, you're going to need counseling to hold the marriage together.
And if nine or ten, you can expect her to lower the boom at any moment.
Does this mean there's nothing a husband can do to get back in his wife's good graces?
If you care enough to try to head off the looming disaster, there are things you can try.
"It might be hard to get a conversation started, but you can make use of opportunities such her birthday or your wedding anniversary to take her to a restaurant, or invite her to take a trip with you," Ms. Okano suggests.
But taking her overseas may not be a good idea.
"It will just highlight your inability at foreign languages and make you look bad," Okano adds.
Middle-aged couples are not immune to the 'Narita divorce,' phenomenon, where something bad happens on an overseas trip and they split upon return to Japan."
Be as it may, the picture that's emerging is that many of the postwar baby boomers who will be retiring at age 60 from 2007 are facing the dismal prospect of no job, no wife, and only half a pension.
That's not much of a future to look forward to, Shukan Post sighs.
(By Masuo Kamiyama, People's Pick contributor.)
September 9, 2006