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Startup offers rental rooms to avoid 'coronavirus divorces'

Airbnb-type space gives cooped-up spouses in Japan a breather

Kasoku's fully furnished units give spouses a place to rest or work alone. (Photo courtesy of Kasoku)

TOKYO -- Japanese short-term rental home startup Kasoku looks to do its part to keep couples together during the coronavirus outbreak by offering accommodations for husbands or wives tired of being stuck at home with their spouses.

Stay-at-home requests and a push for telecommuting mean that many couples are spending far more time together during the week than they are used to. Complaints about a spouse not helping with household chores despite being home and conducting loud videoconferences in the living room can boil over into fights and even divorces. Divorce rates reportedly spiked in China after lockdowns there.

Kasoku, anticipating a need for temporary refuges for frustrated spouses, provides fully furnished units where they can rest or work alone, priced at 4,400 yen ($40) per day. The company also offers free 30-minute divorce consultations with an administrative scrivener.

With inbound tourism plummeting, the service gives Kasoku a way to put vacant rental units to use. The company has about 500 units around the country, mainly in central Tokyo.

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