Japan gov’t to lower age of adulthood from 20 to 18

Japan’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday enacted a law to revise the current Civil Code and lower the legal age of adulthood from 20 to 18, with the aim of spurring social participation by youth in rapidly aging Japan.

One of the major changes that has been brought about with the enacted changes to the Civil Code and laws, which will be actualised in April 2022 as the government plans, is that those in the age-bracket of 18 and 19 years will legally be able to marry without parental consent.

Prior to the law’s enactment, males at the age of 18 and over and females aged 16 and older could marry in Japan, but parental consent was required by law for all persons marrying under the age of 20.

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In line with the lowering of the adulthood age, revisions will be made to 22 related laws including those on nationality and passports, but people under 20 will still be prohibited from drinking alcohol, smoking and gambling.

A Civil Code clause that allows the cancellation of contracts concluded by minors without the consent of parents or legal representatives no longer applies to 18- and 19-year-olds.

The revision allows contract cancellation if a seller exerts undue pressure or influence on a consumer to enter into a transaction.

Opposition lawmakers had opposed the Civil Code revision, citing lack of discussions and insufficient measures to protect consumers.

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