As long as I have time, I ll continue the relationship forever, says Yuge, who is 39. More from the Magazine For Hide, the problems started when he gave up school. But immigration in Japan is still heavily restricted, despite a dearth of some qualified workers. In the game I am 17. In Britain one in eight people were born abroad, compared to one in 60 in Japan. Several surveys have shown that even when Japanese men and women are in relationships, they have very little sex. Japan has managed to preserve its unique culture in an increasingly globalised world but could that very sense of identity stand in the way of solving its population problems? Or is it just time for Japanese men to grow up, have more sex and make more babies?. Akihabara is heaven for otaku. Or catch it on the BBC iPlayer. No-one in Japan feels that way. In one survey just 27% said they had sex every week virtual date sex. Marriage rates are also plunging, and very few babies - only 2% - are born out of wedlock virtual date sex. As she s at high school, she picks me up in the morning and we go to school together. Though Yuge would like to meet a real woman, and Nurikan is married, they say this is easier than having a real girlfriend.
They have taken on a mole-like existence and, worryingly, withdrawn from relationships with the opposite sex. Japan s demographic timebomb is also linked to the lack of immigration. Kunio Kitamura, of the Japan Family Planning Association, describes many young Japanese men as herbivores - passive and lacking carnal desire. Yuge says he often puts Ne-ne - or the games console containing her - into the basket of his bicycle, then he takes photographs of them at his destination. They are a generation of geeks who have grown up through 20 years of economic stagnation and have chosen to tune out and immerse themselves in their own fantasy worlds. One reason for the lack of babies is the emergence of a new breed of Japanese men, the otaku, who love manga, anime and computers - and sometimes show little interest in sex. After school we meet at the gates and go home together. So I think twice about going out with a 3D woman. A survey by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2010 found 36% of Japanese males aged 16 to 19 had no interest in sex - a figure that had doubled in the space of two years. Then, gradually, I became afraid to go out and fearful of meeting people. I met two otaku, who believe themselves to be in relationships with virtual girlfriends.. Japan has managed to preserve its unique culture in an increasingly globalised world but could that very sense of identity stand in the way of solving its population problems? Or is it just time for Japanese men to grow up, have more sex and make more babies?The Japanese men who prefer virtual girlfriends to sex By Anita Rani Presenter, This World 24 October 2013 Close share panel Image caption Manga and anime advertising posters on a building in Akihabara, Tokyo Unless something happens to boost Japan s birth rate, its population will shrink by a third between now and 2060. I started to blame myself and my parents also blamed me for not going to school.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionYuge and Nurikan discuss their relationships with Rinko and Ne-Ne This girlfriend is actually a Nintendo computer game called Love Plus, which comes as a small portable tablet. Nurikan says he keeps Rinko a secret from his wife, and hopes he never has to choose between them. But Akihabara, an area of the city dedicated to the manga and anime subculture provides one clue to the country s problems. They don t believe they will match their parents wealth and don t want to commit themselves to relationships. Image caption Anime figurines on sale in Akihabara Tokyo-based social commentator Roland Kelts says many young Japanese men are pessimistic about the future. Nurikan and Yuge take their girlfriends, Rinko and Ne-ne, on actual dates to the park, and buy them cakes to celebrate their birthdays. And then I couldn t get out of my house. It s the kind of relationship we wish we d had at high school, says Nurikan. In Britain there are 60,000 healthcare workers from overseas, while in Japan - where there is a serious shortage of nurses - there are only 60. At high school you can have relationships without having to think about marriage, says Yuge. If you compare China or Vietnam, most of those kids on scooters going to nightclubs, and dancing their heart away and perhaps having sex - they know it s getting better, they know they are probably going to rock their parents income, he says. It s hard to avoid feeling that otaku are in a perpetual state of childhood and are quite comfortable with their lives this way. I think twice about going out with a 3D woman Yuge It seems they no longer have the ambition of the post-war alpha males who made Japan such an economic powerhouse and no interest in joining a company and becoming a salary man. Exactly why they have retreated into fantasy land is not obvious.