When requests for people in Japan to stay at home to try and contain the coronavirus first began in earnest back in March and April, many people thought it was just a matter of time before families exploded from the pressure of always being together.
With everyone trapped in the same — typically small — home all day every day, parents working from the living room and kids with no school to go to, it was believed that divorce rates were going to skyrocket.
Many Japanese news sources put out articles citing the inevitable “corona divorce” that would happen, a boom in married couples calling it quits on their relationship after they got sick of not being able to ever get away from each other.
However, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has recently released the divorce statistics from January to June of this year. There were a total of 100,122 divorces during that period, which may sound like a lot, but it’s actually 10,923 fewer than the same period last year. That’s a 9.8-percent reduction, a significant change!
It seems as though there was a “corona divorce” effect, but rather than corona increasing divorces, it’s actually ended up decreasing them.
Japanese netizens proposed a couple ideas as for why this was the case:
“Well if the couple can’t go out, that means more sexy times together at home.”
“I feel like we’re going to have a ‘corona baby boom’ instead.”
“Working at home allows for better communication and more time together, so it makes sense.”
“The ‘corona divorce’ was just another hyped-up lie from the mass media.”
We’ve seen stories before about how being quarantined together made couples fall in love again, so the lowering of divorces seems to fall in line with that. Perhaps it’s more the stress of being apart, rather than together, that drives couples to separate.
However, the representative from the Ministry had a more sobering take on the lower divorce rate: “All of society’s activities are on lockdown at the moment, so there are probably a lot of couples who are waiting for things to calm down before they go through the process of getting divorced.”
That take is certainly less romantic, but likely more realistic. Will there be a divorce boom or a baby boom once everything has cooled off? We’ll find out eventually.
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