Japan's government has lowered the age at which people become adults. It is the first time since 1876 that this has happened. From the year 2022, teenagers will become adults at the age of 18, which is two years earlier than the age at which adulthood currently legally happens. However, even though the age has been lowered, there are still certain things that will not change. The legal age for drinking alcohol, smoking and gambling will remain fixed at 20. The new law will enable 18-year-olds to get married without parental consent, and allow them to apply for loans and credit cards. Transgender men and women aged 18 and over will be able to apply to courts to have their gender officially recognized.
The new law has been passed in an effort to bring about social and economic change in Japan. The government hopes to see an increase in the number of young people getting married and starting families. This will help to address the nation's dwindling birth rate and ageing population. Greater financial freedoms could be a boost to the economy and provide more tax revenue. This is vital for a government struggling to cope with increasing pension and healthcare payments. Many of Japan's young people were more concerned about how the law would affect the traditional Coming of Age Day. This is a national holiday held in January in which 20-year-olds dress up in traditional kimonos to celebrate adulthood.