Today I continue to explore the theme that Japan's two decades of economic stagnation may offer guidelines for what lies ahead "for the rest of us" as the global malaise deepens in the years ahead. I have been a student of Japan for 40 years, having studied the language, history, literature, geography and art/film, in university and thereafter. We have many Japanese friends and have visited a number of times. (I have also been a student of the Chinese and Korean cultures.)
Japan is quite different from the U.S. and Europe, with a homogeneous populace and a culture rooted in Confucian values and social hierarchies. Despite the many differences, including definitions of depression, I think it is self-evident that the rising insecurity and workplace changes in Japan result from long-term economic stagnation.
I suspect "new-type depression" may have some universal aspects, as rising insecurity and new demands in the workplace characterize Western economies as well.
New-type depression--NTD--(also called modern-type) is not a classic depression. It does not respond to anti-depressant medications, and it is triggered by events in the workplace--usually criticism from superiors. Those who exhibit the symptoms--difficulty focusing at work, physical symptoms of stress, etc.--tend to be in their 20s and 30s.
With 26% of companies reporting NTD in their workforces, it is widely viewed as a threat to Corporate Japan.
Outside of work, the person with new-type depression continues their social life as before, even as they find themselves unable to go back to work. In other words, they do not suffer from generalized anxiety or anhedonia (inability to enjoy anything in life).
This leads older Japanese to dismiss the NTDs as lazy or spoiled, because the depression is often triggered by demands