1st October 2023 – (Taipei) In a shocking tale of love turned sour, a Taiwanese man, known as Ah Lian, fulfilled his childhood dream of marrying a Japanese woman, driven by his belief in their wisdom, family-oriented nature, and understanding. However, his romantic journey took a dark turn as he lost 23 kilograms due to illness and saw his hard-earned savings of 27 million Japanese yen (approximately HK$1.4 million) vanish into thin air.
It all began in 2004 when Ah Lian met a Japanese girl on Yahoo! Taiwan’s dating platform. She was a working professional who had a fondness for Taiwan. After she came to Taiwan for further studies, they started dating and eventually moved in together. In 2006, when she returned to Japan, Ah Lian assumed their relationship had ended. However, she proposed that he should come to Japan to pursue his dreams. Leaving behind his job as an editor for a motorcycle magazine in Taiwan, Ah Lian embarked on a new chapter in Japan and registered their marriage.
Ah Lian faced immediate challenges, including finding employment. He didn’t speak Japanese and lacked formal education in the language. Moreover, he had no money. Relying on his spouse visa, he stayed in Japan, working part-time jobs and attending free Japanese language courses at the municipal office. After six months of dedicated efforts, he passed the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Level 2, granting him the opportunity to enrol in a renowned racing school, a dream come true. Meanwhile, his wife worked tirelessly at an accounting firm.
Recalling his journey, Ah Lian mentioned that after graduating from the racing school, he planned to work for a Spanish racing team. However, his wife opposed the idea, and he had to settle for a job at a different car manufacturer in Kanto. The move to Kanto took a toll on his wife, who hailed from Kansai. She grew increasingly unhappy and melancholic, while Ah Lian, with his demanding work schedule from 6am to 2am, found himself growing apart from her. Eventually, his wife became pregnant and moved back to Kansai on her own, casually saying, “You can come if you want.”
The geographical distance strained their relationship, which had already been faltering. Ah Lian decided that the only way to compensate for his absence was to work hard and earn money. He handed over his bank passbook, seal, and debit card to his wife, never questioning her management. Little did he know that when he fell ill and asked about their savings upon returning to Japan after a business trip, his wife would respond with, “We have no savings, not a penny.” The shock of this revelation caused Ah Lian to experience hormonal imbalances and lose 23 kilograms.
“When I fell sick, she showed no compassion or concern for me. Our marriage had become a mere facade,” lamented Ah Lian. Determined to divorce his wife, he initially faced resistance from her, but she began frequently disappearing from home. On one occasion, upon returning from a business trip abroad, Ah Lian discovered that their home had been emptied, with only a note on the table stating, “I’ve moved out as per your request. Contact my lawyer if you have any issues.”
Months later, Ah Lian received a court summons requesting “spousal support.” In Japan, regardless of the whereabouts of the spouse, as long as the marriage remains intact, the higher-income individual is obliged to financially support the lower-income individual. The court has the power to enforce this obligation. Ah Lian explained that Japanese law protects women with children, regardless of their actions. He was ordered to pay his wife 90,000 yen (approximately HK$4,700) per month until their child reaches the age of 22. With a monthly rent of 80,000 yen (approximately HK$4,200), taxes exceeding 80,000 yen, and the additional 90,000 yen expense, his salary was reduced to almost nothing. As a foreigner, he had to maintain a clean record. Therefore, he had to sell his beloved car and borrow from the bank to meet these financial obligations.
“I finally realized that this international marriage was nothing short of a living hell,” expressed Ah Lian. Fortunately, with the assistance of a dedicated team of Japanese lawyers, he successfully divorced his wife. During the account settlement process, he discovered that his wife had secretly taken a total of 27 million yen (approximately HK$1.4 million) without his knowledge before moving out. However, he emphasised, “My story does not represent the experiences of everyone. True love certainly exists in the world. All I can say is that I’m doing well now.”