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Stressed spouses

Work
Economics
Japan

Millions of women are worried about what they see as a threat to Japanese family life – having their husbands at home more often. Experts even have an official term for tensions caused by spouses seeing more of each other – Otto zaitaku shokugun – as the number of working hours drop due to the recession. In 1985 people were at work 175 hours per month whereas in 1998 working hours were only 158 per month in Japan. And this figure has fallen another half-an-hour per day as companies cut overtime. This, plus rising joblessness and less money available for men to go out on the town, means that they are home for much longer than ever before. But, despite the stress caused by these changes, Masahiro Yamada from Tokyo Gakugei University says this may be a positive social shift: ‘People will realize that to seek only economic influence is not necessarily good.’

*_World Press Review_ Vol 46 No 2*

New Internationalist issue 311 magazine cover This article is from the April 1999 issue of New Internationalist.
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