Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The More Things Change . . .

Back in the days before "no fault" divorce and the concept of irreconcilable differences, it wasn't uncommon in the United States for unhappy couples to work a sort of bizarre sting operation. With both husband and wife in on the deal, the husband would get setup to be caught being unfaithful. Adultery always was (and still is) grounds for divorce. And it was frightfully easy to fake.

While things have changed here, that's not the case in Japan, where you can purchase similar services:

Kyoko, of course, is not the girl’s real name. She did not meet Mr A by chance and does not work for a design company, as he thinks. She is an agent paid to seduce him. She regularly texts the team from her mobile and has a couple of GPS devices in case they lose her. Shimizu is her bodyguard and will move in if there are problems. And the whole operation is paid for by Mr A’s wife, who gets an amply illustrated report every time an encounter takes place. The aim is to have Mr A fall so completely for Kyoko that he wants to marry her and asks for a divorce. Failing that, his wife will have a sizable dossier with evidence of infidelity to confront him with.

In Japan, if you have the money you can sort out virtually any problem in your love life. If you want to get rid of an unwanted spouse, retrieve a straying one, get back with an ex or even get together with someone you’ve seen but don’t yet know, there are companies that will help you, using all the technology and expertise in human psychology at their disposal. Not so long ago Japanese wives put up with any amount of infidelity and abuse. A divorced woman was shunned and unlikely to marry again. But these days 'people want to be happy', says Tomiya. The result has been an enormous increase in divorces and in companies such as GNC.
I'm not a fan of legal fictions. It's probably healthier for all involved to be able to admit their unhappiness and move on with their lives without resorting to some sort of farce out of a bad opera. Still, you gotta' admire the free market response to the need in Japan.

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