60% of newlyweds in Japan forgo holding weddings amid pandemic

© Kyodo News

About 60 percent of Japanese couples marrying since shortly before the start of the coronavirus pandemic have refrained from holding a wedding ceremony, a nearly threefold jump from the proportion who skipped ceremonies in prior years, a recent survey showed.

The survey by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. also found that nearly 70 percent of couples who tied the knot after October 2019 forwent going on a honeymoon trip due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

The figures -- 58.8 percent for couples skipping weddings and 68.8 percent for those opting not to honeymoon -- compared with 20.4 percent and 19.5 percent, respectively, before the start of the pandemic.

The survey was conducted online on Oct. 12-15, with 1,620 people in their 20s to 70s responding.

Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at the Meiji Yasuda Research Institute, said couples refraining from the ceremonies and trips are shifting much of their spending to purchasing furniture and household goods instead.

"The coronavirus pandemic has brought a major change to the lifestyle and demand structures of newlyweds," Kodama said.

The survey also found that as married couples spend more time at home as a result of the pandemic, 20.2 percent became closer to their partners amid the pandemic, compared with 8.2 percent whose relationships worsened. The remaining couples saw no change.

Those seeing their relationships with spouses improve tended to spend more time with family members, while those seeing relationships worsen tended to spend more time alone, such as on hobbies.

Among couples who maintained good marital relations, 61.7 percent said they had common hobbies, while only 13.0 percent of unhappy couples said they share interests.