Japan women throng stores for Valentines
JAPAN: Japanese women packed out stores on Wednesday to buy
Valentine's Day chocolates for all the men in their lives -- partners,
friends and bosses -- while the men sat back with nothing expected in
The traffic in Japan is all one-way on February 14, with men free to
sit back and wait for the boxes of goodies to pour in.
A month from now, Japan celebrates White Day, when men are required
to reciprocate with a white gift.
Chocolate has been available in Japan since at least 1797, when it
was given to prostitutes by Dutch traders -- the only Europeans allowed
a foothold in an otherwise closed country where travelling abroad was
punishable by death. Today, more than anywhere else, Japan's $11 billion
chocolate business is driven by special days confected by the
advertising industry to get cash tills ringing. Fully half that total is
spent in February, according to retailers.