Back to Contents of Issue: March 2002

by Mark Schreiber

No grooms at the inn. According to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, among males and females age 30 to 34, Tokyo led the nation in the ratio of singles. A full 54.1 percent of the Big Mikan's males in that age group, and 37.6 percent of its females, had yet to tie the knot. For single men, the top 10 prefectures in the same age group (with percentages indicated) were rounded out by Kanagawa (46.6), Chiba (44.7), Saitama (44.0), Okinawa (43.5), Kagawa (37.3), Shiga (37.3), Fukui (37.0), Miyazaki (36.8) and Wakayama (36.8). Among females, it went, Fukuoka (29.9), Kyoto (29.3), Okinawa (29.1), Osaka (29.1), Toyama (20.8), Mie (20.4), Yamagata (20.3), Shiga (19.2) and Fukui (17.6).

E is for earnings. The e-businesses with the largest turnover during fiscal 2000 -- as reported by the Nikkei Marketing Journal -- were, in descending order, Sotec, Sofmap, Exing, Ceile, Japan Air System, Entertainment Plus, Prince Hotels, Yodobashi Camera, Kinokuniya Bookstore and Nisen. All sold over JPY20 billion, and Sotec made it past JPY100 billion.

Goodbye work. NTT topped Japanese corporations with plans to scale back employment, announcing plans to encourage early retirement, transfers to affiliates (at lower-paying jobs) or other measures designed to reduce the total number of workers on the payroll by 100,000. The other companies planning large-scale cutbacks, and the size of those cutbacks are: Fujitsu (21,000), Toshiba (18,800), Hitachi (14,700), Mitsubishi Motors (9,500), Isuzu Motors (9,000), Matsushita Electric Industries (5,000), Aiwa (5,000), Japan Air Lines/JAS (5,000), Oki Electric (2,200), Kobe Steel (1,300) and Daiwa Securities (1,200).

Alimony or parsimony? Wives, divorce your husband after less than one full year of marriage, and you can expect to receive an average settlement of just JPY1.4 million. If under five years of marriage, the figure rises to just under JPY2 million, and 10 years of marriage will get you slightly more than JPY3 million. Even after more than 20 years, the figure is not that encouraging: JPY6,991,000, according to figures for 1998 supplied by Japan's Supreme Court. That figure, by the way, rose from JPY2,788,000 in 1975 -- just enough to keep up with inflation, or maybe not.

Backyard gossip. Based both on the number of articles (69) and total number of pages (222) devoted to her in the three most popular vernacular women's magazines during the first 11 months of 2001, Crown Princess Masako was far and away the most popular topic of discussion. Others receiving extensive coverage in Josei Jishin, Shukan Josei and Josei Seven, in descending order, were Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his family members (46 articles over 119 pages), the celebrity couple of Takuya Kimura and Shizuka Kudo (43/188), Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka (33/97), the September 11 terrorist attacks (29/200), singer Seiko Matsuda and her aspiring singer daughter, Sayaka (18/47), mad cow disease (17/45), popular actress Anna Umemiya (15/34) and unpopular TV personality Sachiyo Nomura (15/33).

Big-time winners. The White Paper on Lotteries queried people who had taken home JPY10 million or more in cash prizes from Japan's Takarakuji lottery about how they put their windfalls to use. The most common reply, heard 22.4 percent of the time, was "put the money into savings." This was followed by 18.5 percent who paid off a loan, 12.4 percent who bought land or buildings, 11.3 percent who squirrelled it away for their old age, and 7.6 percent who used it to repair or add on to the house.

Thumb facts. What, if anything, has changed since you started sending and receiving email via your cellphone? OMMG magazine put the question to 200 singles in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas. The most frequently given reply, with 43.4 percent, was that "communications had become more frequent." This was followed by "nothing in particular" (31.2 percent); "communications are more fun" (30.8), "I got rid of my telephone at home" (19.0), and "I get to know people more quickly" (10.8). @

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