Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Japan marks 'Beloved Wives Day'

Japanese couple walk in the snow - archive
Husbands are urged to improve the "marital mood"

A group of Japanese husbands keen to improve their marriages have declared Tuesday to be Beloved Wives Day.

The Japan Doting Husbands Association is urging men to be home early - by eight o'clock - this evening and express their gratitude to their wives.

The group has also come up with five golden rules, like calling one's wife by her name rather than grunting, and looking into her eyes when talking.

The move comes as the divorce rate in work-obsessed Japan continues to rise.

"Many men can't put their feelings of gratitude towards their wives into words. Work is number one for them," the group says on its web site.

The organisation was set up by Kiyotaka Yamana, a 45-year-old businessman in Kawasaki.

He and his first wife divorced because she was fed up with his workaholic ways.

When Mr Yamana remarried three years ago, he vowed to do things differently.

Since the group's web site was set up in December, about 100 people have signed up, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

Men can try out phrases on the web site, before springing them on their wives.

One member has written: "Though we fight from time to time, I feel very happy when I am with you."

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