A Tokyo-based company called Office Agents rents out friends, collegues and relatives to fill up clients' guest lists.

Seriously, it's only £127 for one of the company's "agent" to attend your party or wedding as a guest. The services that come with that guess don't come free either: A heart-tugging speech will cost an extra £64 and a song or dance will cost £32. Oh, and on top of that, you have to pay for their dinner too.

So who goes for this fake friend-hiring? It's usually brides or grooms who want to impress people with their large amount of "friends".

In fact, the economic recession has brought in more business for the service: With unemployment rates rising, people actually rent fake bosses or colleagues. But of course, it's ironic as you're unemployed, or working part-time, which sort of brings about the question of how in the world did you get so much money to hire these "friends".

But it's honour and pride that's at stake here. People who hire work-related guests want to maintain an air of respectability from their family, according to Hiroshi Mizutani, the head of Office Agents.

Mizutani says, "Suddenly, a guest might not be able to make it. Or maybe you are concerned about the gap in the number of guests you have compared to your partner. Or, there are many temp workers these days and they may be uncomfortable inviting the boss."

At a recent wedding, a guy hired 30 guests as his friends and family. It was his second marriage and he didn't want the same guests who were present at his first wedding.

But of course, it's not only weddings the company benefits from - they provide fake companions at events ranging from corporate functions and funerals to private events. It's not only friends, families and co-workers that are provided too - "stand-in lovers" are available too.

The necessary credentials for the "fakers", according to Mizutani is that "they are cheery and clean and look like they have regular jobs."

Japanese company does thriving trade in 'fake friends' [Telegraph]