An interesting consequence of the global recession is that the Japanese are actually working less.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, overtime labor hours have decreased by 45.8% and overtime pay by 44.7%. Not only have commuters increased between 5 and 6 p.m., more men are taking their coworkers home instead of bars for drinks – not exactly a welcome change for housewives.
This appears to be causing all sorts of strain in Japanese households where husbands and wives are actually finding themselves interacting with each other for the first time in years.
Marital dysfunction appears to be a consequence of postmodernity. It’s widely known that American marriages are plagued by infidelity and divorce. The Japanese suffer from fewer divorces, but their marital problems are just as pronounced–the husband and wife simply stop seeing or talking to each other.
Marriage is fundamentally broken in the world’s two largest economies. The Wolf believes that modern assumptions about the purpose of marital union lie at the root of this problem. Romantics seek their “perfect mate.” A quick review of profiles on Internet dating sites reveals the outrageously high standards we have for our suitors–standards which we ourselves probably cannot live up to. The search for “true love” is really a search for someone who will solve all your problems so that you don’t have to solve them yourself.
Burdened by expectations like these, how can any relationship hope to succeed? Individuals should examine their own lives and see if they are able to live up to the high standards they expect from their mates.