Hi Blog. I’ve written a few essays on the problems with divorce in Japan in the past. (see artery site at http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#divorce
Well, the BBC is projecting the same thing as I have: that yesterday’s pension reforms are going to bring about a few changes in the artificially low divorce rates in Japan. Wait and see. The most recent issue of Terrie’s Take also offers some forecasts afterwards. Debito
Japan set for divorce rate boom
By Chris Hogg BBC News, Tokyo
Published: 2007/04/01 05:44:14 GMT
New pension laws coming into effect in Japan could lead to an explosion in divorces, some experts are warning.
The rules will make it easier for wives to claim up to half their husband’s pension once the marriage is over.
The number of divorces in Japan has been rising for several decades, but the trend reversed four years ago when the new laws were first discussed.
Many believe that wives in unhappy marriages have been waiting for the new laws to come into effect on Sunday.
Japan’s divorce rate is still quite low – around two divorces for every 1,000 marriages.
Shame is one reason. A failed marriage is frowned upon here, particularly among the older generation.
But money is another important factor. Wives often have real concerns that they will not be able to support themselves if they leave the marital home.
The change in the law will help. It will make it easier for women to force their husbands to share their pensions.
One survey suggested that in as many as 42,000 couples, wives have been waiting for the rules to change.
Last autumn, the social insurance agency began offering a confidential service which helped couples calculate how much of the husband’s pension should be given to the wife.
Some 90% of the applications have been from women.
And there is another factor at work. Japan’s baby boom generation is starting to retire this year.
That adds up to around five million mostly male workers, who have spent their lives working long hours, and often drinking long after work, several nights a week.
These absentee spouses will now have much more time to spend at home – all day, every day – perhaps for the first time in the couple’s married life.
Many here believe that will prove too much for their wives to cope with.
AND AS A RESULT–WHAT HAPPENS TO THE RETIREES WHO COME HOME TO WIVES THEY DON’T KNOW? TERRIE’S TAKE SPECULATES (EXCERPT):
The wave of retirements will definitely bring about some interesting socio-economic changes. Not having a “family” of like-minded salarymen to report to every morning will be a big shock for most male baby boomers — who have been described as the “generation waiting for instructions”. They will be forced to make lifestyle changes and as a result, many will become angry, upset, and confused. We expect the suicide and divorce rate to soar as a result.
The problem, of course, is that many of these men have followed a rigid routine for the last 40 years and find it very difficult to make friends outside their work — particularly with their alienated wives. As a result, they are likely to become part of the statistics contributing to the pending divorce surge we wrote about several weeks ago.
After the divorce, the future is unremittingly bleak for many of these male retirees. A recent OECD survey found that Japanese men are amongst the loneliest in the world, with 16.7% of males rarely or never having contact with friends or colleagues outside work. However, with Need being the Mother of Invention (and life changes), we imagine that a growing number of retirees will realize that to save their marriages, they have to start a new life and get to know their partner again.
GOOD LUCK. ANYWAY, THIS IS GETTING BEYOND THE PURVIEW OF THIS BLOG, BUT THE MOST RECENT ISSUE OF TERRIE’S TAKE (FROM WHICH I HAVE EXCERPTED ABOVE) HAS SOME INTERESTING PROGNOSTICATION ABOUT JAPAN AFTER THE BABY BOOMERS RETIRE (PROBABLY ASSUMING RAPID MIGRATION INTO JAPAN DOES NOT HAPPEN). FOR THOSE INTERESTED, SEE IT AT http://www.japaninc.com/terries_take (ISSUE 415) DEBITO