The term is sekkusu shinai shokogun — "celibacy syndrome."
Think it won't happen here or that if it did, it would be good?
Japan's under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren't even dating, and increasing numbers can't be bothered with sex. For their government, "celibacy syndrome" is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world's lowest birth rates. Its population of 126 million, which has been shrinking for the past decade, is projected to plunge a further one-third by 2060....
[A relationships counselor has clients] who have taken social withdrawal to a pathological extreme. They are recovering hikikomori ("shut-ins" or recluses) taking the first steps to rejoining the outside world, otaku (geeks), and long-term parasaito shingurus (parasite singles) who have reached their mid-30s without managing to move out of home. (Of the estimated 13 million unmarried people in Japan who currently live with their parents, around three million are over the age of 35.) "A few people can't relate to the opposite sex physically or in any other way. They flinch if I touch them," she says. "Most are men, but I'm starting to see more women."And these are the people who are seeking counseling. There must be far more who are not going to admit they have a problem.
Well, in fact, is it a problem to live the solitary life? The government — and society — may want you to pair up and form a family unit for the sake of the whole, but for the individual? Perhaps many people are discovering a great truth in living the life of solitude and simplicity.
(Consider: "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.")
Those who portray solitude as a problem may say the individual isn't having a fully dimensional, deeply satisfying life. But that might be the propaganda, and the truth could be that we need to exploit the individual to generate wealth and new human beings so that the group can thrive. If it is not actually a problem for the individual, then those who see and fear the disastrous dysfunction of the group are tasked not only to cure a nonproblem but also to convince individuals to perceive a nonproblem as a problem and to submit to the cure.