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.
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.)