Japan retired couples told cruise may sink marriage

  • World
  • Tuesday, 21 Feb 2006

By Evelyn Leopold

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese couples who celebrate the husband's retirement with a leisurely cruise or overseas trip may find themselves headed for a divorce court when they get home. 

Many Japanese men who retire have spent decades living largely apart from their families as they devoted themselves to their jobs -- a recipe for trouble when they decide to take extended trips abroad with their wives. 

"It is dangerous for couples to suddenly go on overseas trips after the husbands retire," author Sayoko Nishida, who wrote a popular book called "Why Are Retired Husbands Such a Nuisance?" was quoted as telling Kyodo news agency. 

Nishida, who runs a school in Tokyo called "Retirement Cram School" to help couples deal with the issue, recommends that couples take one-day bus tours as practice. 

Others say the real kiss of death for a relationship is a cruise, since couples are stuck together with each other on a ship for days or even weeks. 

The number of divorces among couples married 20 or more years hit 42,000 in 2004, double what it was in 1985, while the number among those married over 30 years is four times higher, according to Japan's Health Ministry. 

"What is most important for couples after retirement is communication," Kazumi Taniguchi, editor of a magazine aimed at retiring baby-boomers, was quoted as saying. 

"Overseas trips and moving abroad without considering this factor ... will only enhance the possibility of divorce." 

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