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Age of adulthood lowered in Japan to 18

The Japanese government enacted a bill that lowered the age of adulthood to 18 from 20. However, the legal age of drinking will stay at 20. Such a measure will allow 18-year-olds to get credit cards and loans, marry without parental consent and apply for a passport that will be valid for 10 years. In Japan, currently men of 18 years and women of 16 years can marry; however, they have to seek parental consent. The falling birth rates and improving life expectancy has led to the advent of aging population in Japan. According to Japanese Health Ministry, Japanese population is expected to fall till 2060 to 86.74 million from the current 126.26 million.

Since the young and working population has been shrinking over the years, taxes paid by this population are also dwindling. Such tax money is imperative in supporting the growing aging population which is in dire need of healthcare services and pensions. Given the growing budget deficit and Japan’s growing aging society, there is a need to increase tax payments by the young population. Lowering the age of adulthood, will lead to more of these young people getting jobs and in return they will pay taxes to bolster the budgets deficit and aging population. This will also lead to young people thinking that they have a stake in the society and in order to protect it they need to work for it. 

The government took an initiative and brought the voting age from 20 to 18 years in 2015. Such a move with the recent revisions are endeavors to make young people aware of their responsibilities as the citizens of Japan. This can also be to urge the younger population to vote in the elections as voting rates are low in Japan. Such a legislation sparks political conversation and a subsequent increased awareness in the younger population of Japan. 

In another perspective, it can be just playing politics in the Japanese society by virtue of this new legislation. Shinzo Abe, Japenese Prime Minister, is considered to be a hawkish one. He has been a proponent of a pacifist constitution which will renounce war and will not maintain land, sea or air forces for non-defensive purposes. For such a constitution to lay its roots in Japan, a referendum is required. Lowering the adulthood age makes the younger people vote for the referendum and since they are not engaged in the political rhetoric, swaying them to vote for the referendum will be easier for Shinzo Abe.  

  • Japan
  • Adulthood
  • Aging Population
  • Referendum
  • Shinzo Abe