Japan's confectioners can't make romance last longer, but they've come up with the next best thing: Valentine's Day chocolates that stay fresh for two years.

The Mary Chocolate Company's "Chocolate That Keeps" achieves the longevity feat by using less milk fat and more cocoa, the company said.Valentine's Day is serious business in Japan, where women give men sweets. Males are expected to reciprocate a month later on "White Day."

And the giving is not just for the love-struck: office women are expected to dispense so-called "giri-choco" - or obligation chocolate - to male colleagues on Valentine's Day.

This year, women will get a break because the holiday falls on a Saturday, so there will be less pressure to hand out gifts at work. So confectioners are playing the romance angle hard.

"This chocolate keeps two years, but love is for keeps," runs Mary's advertising slogan for the new candies. The company says buying for long-term sweethearts and friends is in this year.

Still, why do you need chocolates that last for two years?

Mary Chocolates had a rather unromantic suggestion: provisions in case of an earthquake.

"They can be used for emergency situations like that," said Kaori Kobayashi, a company spokeswoman.