Lower age of majority won't affect ceremonies

NHK -- Jan 11
An NHK survey has found that most major municipalities across Japan will stick with the tradition of allowing people around 20 years old to take part in coming-of-age ceremonies even after the national legal age of adulthood is lowered later this year.

The official age of majority will come down from the current 20 to 18 in April, when the revised Civil Code takes effect.

The survey, conducted earlier this month, covered 74 local governments nationwide, including Tokyo's 23 wards, before they held congratulatory ceremonies for new adults on or around Coming-of-Age Day on Monday.

It found that all respondents, except for the northern city of Aomori, will continue to allow those at or near 20 years of age to attend ceremonies even after the legal change. Aomori City says it is considering what to do.

A central government survey also painted a similar picture.

Municipalities say 18-year-olds would be too busy preparing for entrance exams or hunting for jobs to participate in elaborate ceremonies. They fear that would hit attendance and increase the cost to parents.

The lower legal age of adulthood will change some aspects of life. For example, people aged 18 and 19 will become eligible to apply for loans and credit cards without parental consent.

But those under 20 will still be banned from drinking, smoking, and taking part in Japan's four legally permitted forms of gambling, such as horse racing.

An internal affairs ministry estimates that 1.2 million people were aged 20 on New Year's Day this year.