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Is 19 a minor in Japan?


Japan has a unique legal system that differs from many other countries, including the age of majority. One topic of confusion for many is whether 19 is considered a minor in Japan. In this article, we will explore this question in detail, taking into account various factors and laws.

Defining a Minor

Before we can explore whether 19 is a minor in Japan, it’s important to understand what constitutes a minor. A minor is typically defined as someone who has not yet reached the age of majority, which is the age at which a person becomes legally responsible for their actions and decisions.

Japanese Snack Box

The Age of Majority in Japan

In Japan, the age of majority is 20. This means that once a person turns 20, they are considered an adult and are legally responsible for their actions and decisions. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Exceptions to the Age of Majority

While the age of majority in Japan is generally 20, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, individuals who are 18 or 19 years old can marry with parental consent. Additionally, individuals who are 18 or 19 years old can sign contracts and make certain legal decisions with parental consent.

Drinking Age in Japan

In Japan, the legal drinking age is 20. This means that individuals under the age of 20 are not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol. While this may seem unrelated to the question of whether 19 is a minor in Japan, it does highlight how age is viewed in Japanese law.

The Legal System in Japan

The legal system in Japan is based on civil law rather than common law. This means that laws are created by legislative bodies rather than being based on precedent. Additionally, Japanese law places a strong emphasis on social harmony rather than individual rights.

Juvenile Law in Japan

In Japan, there is a separate legal system for juveniles who commit crimes. Juvenile law applies to individuals who are under the age of 20 and focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, once a juvenile reaches the age of 20, they are subject to the regular criminal justice system.

Ageism in Japan

Ageism is a pervasive issue in Japanese society and culture. Older individuals are often given more respect and deference than younger individuals, regardless of their qualifications or abilities. This cultural attitude towards age may impact how the legal system views individuals under the age of 20.

The Importance of Context

When considering whether 19 is a minor in Japan, it’s important to take into account the specific context of the situation. For example, if someone is asking whether they can purchase cigarettes at age 19, the answer may be different than if they are asking about signing a lease or getting married.

Impact on International Visitors

For international visitors to Japan, understanding the country’s laws regarding minors and adults is important. While visitors may be considered adults in their home country at age 18 or 19, they may still be considered minors in Japan until they turn 20.


So, is 19 a minor in Japan? The answer depends on the context and the specific situation. While individuals under the age of 20 are generally not considered adults under Japanese law, there are some exceptions to this rule. Ultimately, understanding Japanese law and culture requires careful consideration of all relevant factors.

Sources Cited:

  1. “Age of Majority” – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  2. “Japanese Law” – Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute
  3. “Juvenile Law” – Ministry of Justice
  4. “Drinking Age” – World Health Organization
  5. “Ageism in Japan” – The Japan Times

Is 19 still a minor in Japan?

As of April 1, 2022, the age of majority in Japan was lowered from 20 to 18. This allows 18- and 19-year-olds to enter into contracts for smartphones or loans without parental consent, but also means that they must take responsibility for their decisions.

Can you drink at 19 in Japan?

In Japan, individuals are considered legal adults once they reach the age of 20. The law in Japan forbids anyone under this age from drinking or smoking. Additionally, it is important to never pressure or coerce someone into drinking or smoking as it can have negative impacts on both their health and social well-being.

Is 15 and 18 legal in Japan?

Although the legal age of consent in Japan is 13, there are additional laws that enforce penalties for engaging in sexual acts with minors. The Child Welfare Law considers anyone under 18 years old as a child and imposes criminal consequences for inducing a child to participate in inappropriate behavior.

Can you go clubbing at 19 in Japan?

To enter most bars and nightclubs in Japan, it is necessary to be at least 20 years old. This is also the minimum age for legally smoking or consuming alcohol.

What grade is 19 years old in Japan?

The educational system includes different levels and age groups. Senior high school or upper secondary school is for students aged 17-18 (12th grade). Associate’s or Foundation’s University is for students aged 18-19. Undergraduate studies at a University (Bachelor’s degree) are for students aged 19-20/20-21. There are various other educational establishments available for students at different age groups.

Can 18 year olds go to bars in Japan?

For those who come from countries where the legal age for drinking and smoking is 18, they may find Japan’s age restrictions for alcohol and tobacco consumption surprising. In Japan, you must be 20 years old and have a valid ID (for foreigners, a residence card is acceptable) to purchase and consume these products.

Legal Status of Minors in Japan

In Japan, minors have limited legal capacity and are not allowed to engage in certain activities without the consent of their parents or legal guardians. For example, minors cannot open bank accounts, buy property, or apply for loans without the authorization of their parents or guardians. They also cannot work full-time until they reach the age of 18.

The Importance of Parental Consent

Parental consent is an important aspect of Japanese law when it comes to minors. Parents or legal guardians must provide their consent for minors to engage in certain activities such as marriage, employment, and medical treatment. Without parental consent, these activities may be considered illegal.

Penalties for Breaking the Law as a Minor

In Japan, minors who break the law can face penalties that are separate from those given to adults. The juvenile justice system has its own set of procedures and penalties that focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, serious crimes committed by minors can also result in harsh penalties such as imprisonment or fines.

Age of Sexual Consent in Japan

The age of sexual consent in Japan is 13 years old. However, this does not mean that any sexual activity with a person under 18 years old is legal. There are specific laws that prohibit sexual activity with minors under certain circumstances, such as when the adult is in a position of authority over the minor or when the minor is paid for sexual services.


The legal status of minors in Japan is complex and varies depending on the situation. While the age of majority is 20, there are exceptions to this rule and minors have limited legal capacity until they reach adulthood. Understanding Japanese law and culture is important for anyone living or traveling to Japan, especially when it comes to issues related to minors.

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