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What age are you not a minor in Japan?


In this article, we will explore the legal age of adulthood in Japan, and what it means to not be considered a minor in the country. Understanding the age of majority is important for individuals who wish to enter into contracts, vote, marry, or engage in other legal activities that require one to be an adult.

History and Background

Japan has a unique legal system that has evolved over centuries, with influences from China and the West. In the past, there was no clear age of majority, and different laws applied to different ages. For example, at one time, those under 15 were considered minors for criminal law purposes, while those under 20 were minors for civil law purposes.

Japanese Snack Box

The Modern Age of Majority

In 2022, the age of majority in Japan is 20 years old. This means that individuals are considered adults when they reach this age, and can engage in various activities that were previously restricted to them as minors. The age of majority was officially changed from 18 to 20 years old in 2022.

Legal Implications of Adulthood

When an individual becomes an adult in Japan, they gain new rights and responsibilities. They are now legally allowed to vote, sign contracts, buy cigarettes and alcohol, get married without parental consent, and join the military. On the other hand, they are also held accountable for their actions and can be tried as adults if they commit a crime.

Exceptions to the Rule

While most individuals become adults at age 20 in Japan, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the minimum age for drinking alcohol is 20 years old, but those who are 18 or 19 years old may be allowed to drink if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Aging Society

Japan is known for its aging population, with a decreasing birth rate and increasing life expectancy. This has led to discussions about whether the age of majority should be lowered to 18 or even younger to address labor shortages and other issues.

Cultural Context

In Japan, there is a strong emphasis on respecting elders and hierarchical relationships. This cultural context may influence how individuals view adulthood and responsibility. Additionally, there may be differences in how urban versus rural areas view adulthood.

International Comparisons

The age of majority varies between countries around the world. For example, in the United States, it is generally 18 years old. In some countries, such as Iran or Sudan, it is as high as 21 years old. Understanding these differences can be helpful for individuals who travel or do business internationally.

Challenges Faced by Young Adults

As young adults transition into adulthood in Japan, they may face challenges such as finding employment or housing. There are various support systems available for young adults in Japan to help them navigate these challenges.

Impact on Education

The age of majority also affects education in Japan. Once an individual turns 18 or graduates from high school, they are no longer required to attend school. However, many continue their education through vocational schools or university.


In conclusion, the age of majority in Japan is currently 20 years old. Becoming an adult brings new rights and responsibilities but also comes with challenges. Understanding the legal implications of adulthood can help young adults navigate this transition period successfully.

How old is a minor in Japan?

In Japan, the age of adulthood was previously considered to begin at 20, which was established in a proclamation made in 1876. But as of April 1, 2022, the Civil Code has been revised and the age of adulthood has been lowered to 18.

Is 16 a minor in Japan?

In Japan, an individual is considered an adult when they turn 20, and parental consent is critical when it comes to legal matters concerning young individuals. This implies that getting married to an individual under the age of 20 without written parental permission is against the law.

Is the age of consent 13 in Japan?

The age of consent refers to the minimum age required for an individual to legally give consent for sexual activity. Currently, Japan has the lowest age of consent among developed countries and G7 countries, where children as young as 13 years old can legally give consent. This information was last updated on February 22, 2023.

Does Japan have a child limit?

A policy implemented by the government that restricts families to having only two children or provides government benefits solely for the first two children.

Can a 16 year old marry a 18 year old in Japan?

In Japan, the minimum legal age for marriage is 18 for both males and females. However, there was a previous law that allowed men to marry at 18 years old and women to marry at 16 years old. But as of April 1, 2022, the Civil Code has been revised, and the minimum age for women to marry has been raised to 18 years old. Now, both men and women in Japan have to be at least 18 years old to legally marry.

What age can a girl get married in Japan?

In Japan, the minimum age for marriage is 18 for boys and 16 for girls under the Japanese Civil Code. If a person is under 20 years of age, they must have parental approval to get married. However, starting in 2022, the legal age for both girls and boys to get married will be 18 years old.

Impact on Society

The age of majority in Japan has a significant impact on society as a whole. With the increasing number of young adults becoming adults, there is a need for policies and programs that support their transition into adulthood. This includes education and training programs, employment opportunities, housing, and healthcare.

Challenges Faced by Minorities

Minorities in Japan may face additional challenges when becoming an adult. For example, non-Japanese individuals may need to navigate the complex legal system to obtain citizenship or permanent residency. Additionally, LGBTQ+ individuals may face discrimination or limited rights when it comes to marriage or adoption.

Future Changes

As Japan’s population continues to age, there may be future changes to the age of majority. Some have suggested lowering the age to 18 to address labor shortages and encourage young people to enter the workforce. However, others argue that this may not be effective without addressing deeper societal issues such as gender equality and work-life balance.


In summary, the age of majority in Japan is an important milestone for young adults. It brings new rights and responsibilities but also comes with challenges. Understanding the legal implications of adulthood can help individuals navigate this transition period successfully, but there is still a need for policies and programs that support young adults in their journey towards independence.

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