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Men who were aggressively recruited by firms during the bubble economy in the latter half of the 1980s through the early ’90s are now being scorned as “burdens” on society — a sharp contrast to their vigorous female peers, who are called “arafo,” short for around 40.

The bubble-era graduates, now in their late 30s through late 40s, joined Japan Inc. after enjoying a carefree student life full of overseas trips and disco nights, and easily secured promises of jobs from big companies, as well as from the central and local governments.

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