On a night when I’ve been mostly transfixed by the conflicting reports about the capture, or not, of Serbian war-criminal Ratko Mladic,* I’ve been suddenly distracted by this headline from Yahoo! News:

TOKYO (AFP) - Nearly half of Japan’s housewives keep money secret from their husbands and most of them doubt their spouses have any idea about it, a survey found, showing women hold the purse strings here.

About 46 percent of housewives said they had secret funds, with the sum averaging 2.41 million yen (20,000 dollars), according to a survey of 500 wives in salary-earning households by Sompo Japan DIY Life Insurance.

The hidden savings seem to be accumulating with time, as the average sum was four million yen for housewives in their 50s, nearly three times as much as the 1.46 million yen for those in their 20s.

On the other hand, 76 percent of the women believe their husbands keep no such secret money.


*An hour before BBC started announcing the Mladic reports, while we were consuming a bottle of vodka, sms’s from Serbia began vibrating John Nadler’s phone, cluing us in. Made me feel on the cutting edge of the headlines, briefly.