Japan to lower adulthood age in April for 1st time in over 140 years

Baku, April 2, AZERTAC

Japan will lower the age of adulthood from 20 to 18 in April by revising the Civil Code and changing the legal definition of an adult for the first time in over 140 years, opening up new freedoms and responsibilities for 18- and 19-year-olds, according to Kyodo News.

While the move aims to encourage active social participation by youth, there are also concerns they will become easy targets for scams after being allowed to enter into consumer contracts without parental consent.

Changes to Japan's Juvenile Law to implement stricter punishments for 18- and 19-year-old criminal offenders will also come into effect on April 1.

The revision will expand the range of crimes where 18- and 19-year-olds are referred to prosecutors from family courts and tried as adults.

Currently, homicide is the only criminal charge for which minors are subject to prosecution, but the changes will add crimes punishable with a minimum of one year in prison, such as robbery or rape, to the list.

The revision will also relax rules for media reporting, allowing for the full names and faces of 18- and 19-year-old offenders to be revealed.

With the lowering of the adulthood age, numerous related laws including those on passports, national licenses and jury duty will also be revised, but people under 20 will still be prohibited from drinking alcohol, smoking and gambling.

The Civil Code revision will also lift the legal age of marriage for women to 18. Currently, males aged 18 and older and females aged 16 and older in Japan can marry, but parental consent is required for people under 20.


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