Japan's Lost Decade is a cautionary tale about the L-shaped recession : The Indicator from Planet Money Not all recessions are created equal. Some look like Vs, while others look like Ks. But the scariest one of all is the L-shaped recession. Travel back to Japan's "Lost Decade" with us to understand why.

What Japan's "Lost Decade" teaches us about recessions

What Japan's Lost Decade teaches us about recessions

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KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
TOKYO, JAPAN: A woman looks at an electronic stock price board in downtown Tokyo, 29 March 2001. Share prices plunged 5.0 percent to post their biggest fall in nearly a year as investors dumped hi-tech issues following a sharp drop on Wall Street, brokers said.  AFP PHOTO/Kazuhiro NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

There's an ongoing debate over whether a recession is coming. But what type of recession should we really be worrying about? V-shaped ones are relatively short-lived, but the L-shaped ones? That's when we sound the alarm.

Today we're traveling back to 1990s Japan – an era infamously termed the "Lost Decade" for its slow growth and falling prices – to learn about the lasting scars of recessions shaped, well, not so well.

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