Couples seeking a romantic Christmas dinner in Tokyo better avoid PiaPia restaurant, if a sign in the window is for real. "We will be refusing entry to all couples on December 24, with no exceptions!" the handwritten message reads, the Telegraph reports. The note—which includes images of a male and female figures, a heart, and a big red X crossing them all out—adds that any couples who enter that evening will cause restaurant workers "severe emotional trauma." So what gives? Customers out alone that evening will "feel sad that they are by themselves," says a PiaPia employee. "To start with, someone said we should ban couples as a bit of a joke, but then we realized that it's true. If you are single on Christmas Eve, then it's easy to get down."
While not many Japanese are Christian or celebrate Christmas Day, Christmas Eve has become a time for couples to dine out and swap gifts, the Independent reports. As it happens, PiaPia's plan comes at a time when "Japan is experiencing a couples crisis," notes the Telegraph. Japanese are marrying later and having fewer kids, sustaining a fertility rate of 1.41 babies for each woman during her life, which means the current population of 126.6 million can't be sustained. In fact, Japanese officials say the population will plunge to 49.59 million by 2100. But social-media commenters are supporting PiaPia's move with messages like, "Good move boss! I support you!" and "I wish all restaurants would ban couples on Christmas Eve." (Read about a dying girl flooded with Christmas cards.)