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Revised Civil Code and Juvenile Law in April to lower legal age of adulthood to 18

23 Comments

On April 1, the Civil Code and Juvenile Law will be revised, which will allow 18-year-olds to do many things without parental or guardian consent. This includes purchasing a cell phone, signing an apartment lease, taking out a car loan, signing up for a credit card, and even getting married. However, the legal age for buying alcohol and cigarettes, and gambling (on horse racing) will remain at 20.  

Revisions to Japan’s Juvenile Law will also mean more severe punishment and criminal responsibility for 18-year-olds, who were previously considered minors when committing offenses in the eyes of the law. In addition to harsher penalties, a suspect's full name will be disclosed to the public when the revisions come into effect.

One unclear point is when young adults should celebrate their coming-of-age ceremony, which is typically observed for those who have turned 20 on Coming-of-Age Day (the second Monday of January). It turns out that the answer depends on where you live. Instead of the national law, municipal governments across Japan are responsible for deciding which age to celebrate this rite of passage into adulthood. Thus, some cities have announced that 18-year-olds may participate in the ceremony, while others have stated it will continue to be reserved for those who turn 20.

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23 Comments
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Cultural beliefs and the law do not always need to be the same. In Spanish and Latin cultures, the quinceañera means a girl has become a woman at 15 years old. It is celebrated in many countries, but they are still considered a child in the eyes of the law in most countries. In the US, an 18-year-old have all the legal rights of any adult except drinking.

It is nothing wrong with 18 year olds being considered adults in Japan. They can still have the ceremony at 20. It might get more voters in local and national elections, reduce the amount of crime committed, and speed up the maturity of some childish individuals.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

About time the lower the age. Now they can be adults for a change

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This mean the 60-year old oyajis can now legally "photograph" an 18 year old girl. What's with that lately? I've been seening this more and more everywhere this past year.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Men can get married at age 18 under the current law, women at 16. From April 1, women will have to wait till they turn 18 to get married.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

18 year olds are still allowed to work in deri-heru, so nothing really changes from my perspective.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Dumb idea. How many 18 year olds are financially responsible to take out and service a loan? Of course this only means 18 year olds can apply, it doesn't mean they'll get approved. Unfortunately the loanshark crowd will take advantage of this and ruin more young people's lives.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Does anyone know if investments like NISA, or iDeco are going to change to 18?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan has 16 year olds working in izakayas and convenience stores selling alcohol and cigarettes. It doesn’t make sense.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Finally! It's so absurd to read about a 19 almost 20 year old classified as a minor when they committed XYZ crime. Even more infuriating knowing that because they law classifies them as a minor, they'll get only a mere slap on the wrist for whatever they did wrong.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

About time too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

‘On the books’ @Lindsay 8:14pm. Japan has specific laws about utilizing ‘teen’ labor (15 and older). Yet, apparently there are loopholes that facilitate this intricate aspect of Japan’s ingrained ‘education’ system and work ‘culture’. Every notice that annual 3 -4 days some high schools ‘volunteer’ some students to ‘intern’ at local business ‘to see if they’re interested as a future career choice’ ? (They may get a free meal for busing tables and washing dishes for 6 - 8 hours. Not sure if they actually collect a check. Perhaps someone here can clarify how it’s done.)

*- @Lindsay 8:14pm: “Japan has 16 year olds working in izakayas and convenience stores selling alcohol and cigarettes. It doesn’t make sense.” -*

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It should not be so clear-cut. At some aspects you are an adult at 14 years old, in other aspects being an adult goes well into the 20s or even 30s.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In America, 17 teen is considered a legal responsible adult, Japanese wonder why some people do not mature,

3 ( +3 / -0 )

signing up for a credit card, and even getting married. However, the legal age for buying alcohol and cigarettes, and gambling (on horse racing) will remain at 20.  "

So one can get married but is not allowed to legally have a glass of champagne to toast at one,s own wedding...absurd much ?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

To be honest I think they should be putting the age of adulthood up not down. Japanese teenagers are generally very immature compared to Europeans.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

but is not allowed to legally have a glass of champagne to toast at one,s own wedding...

Why not? You can have it, fill it, smell it, hold it, make your toast…as long as you don’t drink from it. lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it's too bad this was a nice thing about Japan. If anything the rest of the world needed to increase the age not force Japan to lower it

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

OxycodinJan. 4  05:14 pm JST

About time the lower the age. Now they can be adults for a change

I wish America would catch up too. You can do about anything except have a drink, the age is 21.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

marcelitoJan. 4  09:39 pm JST

signing up for a credit card, and even getting married. However, the legal age for buying alcohol and cigarettes, and gambling (on horse racing) will remain at 20.  "

So one can get married but is not allowed to legally have a glass of champagne to toast at one,s own wedding...absurd much ?

You can't celebrate with champagne until you're 21 yet you can get married, sign for selective service, work and pay taxes.

Mr KiplingJan. 4  09:57 pm JST

To be honest I think they should be putting the age of adulthood up not down. Japanese teenagers are generally very immature compared to Europeans.

Age is a number. in America we have 77 year olds going on 7. Some people never mature.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Outside of clubs, I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody being ID’d for smokes or booze in Japan lol.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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