Japan lowers age of adulthood from 20 to 18

Japanese youth have reason to cheer as the government has enacted a bill lowering the age of adulthood from 20 to 18. This first revision to the civil code in 142 years, which will be effective from April 1, 2022, allows them to marry without their parents’ consent and apply for a credit card, passport or loan. But they cannot celebrate the news with a couple of drinks as the legal age of drinking will remain at 20. They cannot smoke or gamble too due to similar health concerns. Japan is grappling with an aging population because of falling birth rates and improving life expectancy. With tax returns falling, the government is finding it increasingly hard to support the aging population with pensions and healthcare services. The rule change in age of adulthood has upset the ailing kimono industry.  Japanese women who turn 20 have been celebrating the annual Coming of Age Day ceremony in January by wearing kimono and enjoying their first legal drink. If the ceremony is now held for those who turn 18, many will skip it as they will be busy preparing for university entrance exams.