The number of international marriages in Japan continues to grow in recent years. Most of the cases are Japanese men marry South East Asian women particularly Chinese and Filipinas. Women of these two countries are thought most suitable to marry with for they are caring, friendly and hard working.
A characteristic of their marriage is that middle-aged Japanese men marry to Chinese or Filipinas in their 2os or 30s. These women are eager to marry Japanese men because they think Japanese are economically rich. Japanese men marry to them because they are worried about their old age having nobody to take care of them or, Japanese agricultural areas are now decreasing in population, so they cannot find their spouse in their local areas. Both sides are hoping to have a better life by marrying to each other.
However, their marriage usually ends with divorce. The first biggest cause is the lack of communication between husband and wife. Since foreign wife usually cannot speak good Japanese, couples cannot understand each other. Foreign wife gradually start to feel isolated both at home and outside home, so they wind up escaping from Japan to go back to their country.
Another cause is money trouble. Foreign wife come to Japan in search for a better wealthy life but after they got married, what they have found was Japanese husband were not rich enough to support them and actually they are having a hard time making ends meet. Even though they try to find jobs to make up for the deficits in their living expenses, it is still difficult for them to adapt themselves to work as institutions don’t provide proper job training for them.
Like this, foreign wives in Japan are under severe condition. As Japan is facing decreasing birthrate and aging population, international marriage will be inseparably related to the future of Japanese society. But still, Japanese systems for immigrants including marriage immigrants are very exclusive and not friendly. Japan should build up systems to support them by providing, for example, job training or language training to make it easy for them to adapt to Japanese society. Thinking of the future, immigrants will contribute a lot to Japanese economy in terms of their productivity and labor force, so fixing up immigrants friendly system will surely bring benefit to Japan in the long run.
by Eri Kobayashi