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The Age of Adulthood Is Changing in Japan

It won't be 20 anymore
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2018 1:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Currently, young people aren't considered adults in Japan until they reach the age of 20, a policy set in 1876. For the first time since then, the government is changing the age of adulthood: Starting in 2022, it will be 18 years of age, thanks to a bill that will revise the country's civil code. As the BBC reports, the main changes will be that 18-year-olds will be able to get married without parental consent, obtain a passport that is valid for 10 years rather than five, and apply for credit cards and loans without parental consent.

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Anyone diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder will also be allowed to apply for a legal gender change at 18. But 18 won't cut it when it comes to drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling, or adopting children; the legal age for those activities will remain 20. The Japan News explains the reasoning: "The amendment is intended to encourage more young people to get involved in society amid the aging of the country’s population." A potential consequence of the move: the kimono industry will likely suffer. The Japan Times explains why here. (Read more Japan stories.)

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