Divorce filings in Japan surged 6.1% after a change in Japanese law. The law, enacted in 2003, but effective beginning in April 2007, entitles a wife to claim up to 50% of her husband's pension in a divorce.
Apparently, it took Japan a while to catch up with reality. In the U.S., pensions have been marital property since 1985. And this makes sense. Retirement plans represent nothing more than deferred income -- whether they are 401K plans that allow employees to defer income through payroll deductions until after the age of 55 or whether they are defined benefit plans that employers use as incentives (and instead of higher salaries in the present) to attract employees. Deferred income is marital property. After all, were it not deferred, it might represent other assets such as equity in a home, investment accounts, etc.
It's not unusual in Japanese culture, says the Washington Post on November 26th, for husbands to work long hours and then to spend long hours drinking with business associates, becoming strangers to their own families.
This is about to change -- at least for members of the National Chauvinistic Husbands Association, which has attracted nearly 4,300 members in a country of 60 million men. They meet (over dinner and booze, where else?) for instruction on ways to make their wives happy. They've got a lot of incentive.
According to the Institute for Humanistic Studies, the association has Three Principles of Love: saying "sorry" without fear, saying "thank you" without hesitation and saying "I love you" without shame.
Oh, and about the name of the group. According to Shuichi Amano, founder of the association, the word chauvinist in the group's name, is not intended to refer to bossy men. The word was chosen to reflect the original meaning of the Japanese word that today translates as chauvinist, kanpaku, a top assistant to the emperor. Okay . . . Now go out there and learn to take out the garbage and say "I love you" -- say it like you mean it.
You can read the Washington Post article here: Learn to Be Nice to Your Wife, or Pay the Price