A panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is studying a proposal to lower the legal age for drinking alcohol and smoking from 20 to 18.
Opinions were divided over the issue at the panel's first meeting this week. Fuji TV reported. Proponents said that because the voting age has been lowered to 18, it is reasonable to lower the drinking and smoking age to 18 as well.
However, opponents expressed concern that it would cause health problems among young people, promote anti-social behavior and cause them to spend too much money on alcohol and cigarettes.
The panel is planning to meet again next week. Any change would require a revision of the Civil Code.
The panel is also discussing, along with the LDP's junior coalition partner, the Komeito Party, lowering the age of juvenile protection to below 18, as well as lowering the age at which anyone can gamble to 18.© Japan Today