Japan's disaster led to powerful love reactions

In Japan, the powerful earthquake and tsunami last March have triggered two very different reactions.

One recent survey shows a third of women and a quarter of men more eager to marry because of the disaster. Another survey shows 15-percent of men and women are thinking something else.

CBS News correspondent Lucy Craft reports that suddenly the wedding aisles are jammed in Japan.

The March 11 tragedy has sparked a newfound desire to say "I do" among many younger Japanese who have been struck with matrimony fever.

One couple told CBS News: "We lost a lot in the disaster. But our family bonds have never been stronger."

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As the marriage rate balloons -- there are no exact figures yet, but the wedding industry reports sales up as much as 20 percent -- matchmaking agencies also say they are suddenly inundated with singles anxious to reach the altar.

But as some exchange rings, divorce is also a smash hit.

At this so-called "divorce ceremony," husbands and wives take part in a strange and somber ritual to nullify their nuptials. Anecdotal evidence says Japanese couples are calling it quits in record numbers.

For exes like Susumu and Ayako Inagaki, the March 11 disaster not only didn't bring them closer together, coping with hardship pushed them farther apart.

"I thought to myself, he probably isn't the guy i should spend the rest of my life with," she says.

By late Spring, the couple said they realized their four-year-old union was a mistake.

"The disaster gave us an opportunity to re-think our relationship," the husband says.

For one divorce planner, business is booming since the tragedy of last Spring.

He says: "Some people start to think, you only live once. Others suddenly realize they don't share the same values and views."

So while the earthquake triggered a yen for romance, it has also cracked open the weakest of marriages, sending couples going their own separate ways.

  • Lucy Craft

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