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Japan’s plummeting reproduction rates are well documented. Its population of 126 million is projected to plunge by more than one-third by 2060, generating vastly more retirees than toddlers.

Yet, the problem seems to stem from a complex source: intolerance of intimacy. According to the Japan Family Planning Association, 45% of women aged 16–24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact”; a quarter of corresponding males shared the sentiment. The Japanese media has a new name for it: sekkusu shinai shokogun—or “celibacy syndrome.”

        —Diane Richard, writer, October 22


Photograph: Eric Rechsteiner

Source: Abigail Haworth, “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?” The Guardian, October 19, 2013