London, June 11: The growing trend for dog ownership in Japan has reportedly spawned an 8 billion-pound-a-year industry that offers adored pooches the sort of over-the-top luxuries usually reserved for the wealthiest humans.
Families increasingly regard pets as an alternative to having children – and are lavishing all manner of privileges on them, including dog kimonos, fake fur coats, 1,000 pound Hermes leather tote bags, 230-pound designer jeans and even school uniforms.
Moreover, such wardrobes are accessorised with nappies, jewellery and designer dog buggies of the type favoured by yummy mummies, all ‘must-have’ items for any image-conscious dog owner.
The pampered dogs even sit on chairs to eat specially prepared organic food that can be shared with their owner.
The other offers to spoil the pet silly are yoga classes, ‘lotions and potions’ and hot spring resorts to help the frazzled pups de-stress.
Even death becomes an extravaganza, as a deluxe funeral package with full Buddhist rites and mini-temple can be purchased for 7,000 pounds.
“I’ve seen owners cry more for the loss of their pet than they do for a parent or grandparent, because to many people their pet is the child they don’t have,” an observer said.
According to a documentary for the BBC’s World Service, the Japanese are becoming increasingly obsessed with dogs because, even with designer accessories, they are a more affordable substitute for children in difficult economic times.
And it is subsequently leading to a demographic time bomb.
There are now 22million pets as compared to 17million children in Japan, and if trends continue the country’s population could be reduced from 128million to 85million over the next century.
Analysts warn that this would have a devastating effect on the country’s already struggling economy. (ANI)