Japan's age of majority to drop to 18

NHK -- Jan 02
2022 is bringing with it a revision to Japan's laws that will lower the official age of adulthood for the first time in some 140 years.

The age of majority will be reduced from the current 20 to 18, when the amended Civil Code becomes effective on April 1st.

From that date, anyone who's 18 can marry without parental consent. Currently, females are allowed to marry from 16 and males from 18, but require their parents' approval until the age of 20.

Those aged 18 or older will also be able to apply for a credit card or get a loan without parental consent.

A Japanese citizen who has dual nationality at the age of 18 will have two years to choose just one of them. Currently, they have until age of 22 to make the decision.

Legal adults will also be able to register a change in their gender status.

But young people under 20 will still be banned from drinking, smoking, or taking part in any one of Japan's four legally permitted forms of gambling, including horse racing and bicycle racing.

Separately, the amended juvenile act will come into force on April 1st.

Young people at 18 and 19 will continue to be protected under the juvenile act. But they will be treated differently from juveniles of 17 and below in some parts of the legal process.

The legal age of adulthood is being lowered for the first time since 1876, however concerns have been raised that young consumers may be at greater risk of running into financial problems.