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What is minor age in Japan?


In Japan, the term “minor age” refers to the age at which a person is considered a minor and not legally responsible for their actions. This age differs from country to country and is important in terms of laws, as minors are often given special protections under the law. In this article, we will explore what minor age means in Japan and how it differs from other countries.

History of minor age in Japan

The concept of minor age in Japan has evolved over time. In ancient Japan, there was no clear distinction between adults and children, and children were viewed as small adults. However, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the government introduced laws that recognized minors as a distinct group with special rights and protections.

Japanese Snack Box

Current minor age laws in Japan

In Japan, the age of majority is 20 years old. This means that anyone under the age of 20 is considered a minor. This age applies to various legal matters, such as marriage, voting, and drinking alcohol. However, some activities have different ages of consent or legal responsibility.

Age of criminal responsibility

In Japan, the age of criminal responsibility is 14 years old. This means that children under the age of 14 cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions. Instead, they are usually sent to juvenile correctional facilities where they receive education and rehabilitation.

Age of consent

In Japan, the age of consent for sexual activity is 13 years old. However, this only applies to heterosexual intercourse. Same-sex activity is not illegal but is not recognized under Japanese law.

Child labor laws

Japan has strict child labor laws that prohibit children under the age of 15 from working. Children between the ages of 15 and 18 are also subject to restrictions on the type of work they can do and the hours they can work.

Education laws

Education is compulsory in Japan for children between the ages of 6 and 15. After that, education is optional but highly encouraged. There are also laws in place that ensure equal access to education for all children, including those with disabilities.

Child custody laws

In Japan, child custody laws favor the mother in cases of divorce. However, there have been criticisms of these laws as they can result in fathers having little to no contact with their children after a divorce.

Protection of minors from abuse and neglect

Japan has laws in place to protect minors from abuse and neglect. If a child is suspected to be in danger, social services can intervene and take the child into protective custody.

Driving age

The legal driving age in Japan is 18 years old. However, minors can obtain a provisional license at the age of 16, which allows them to drive under certain restrictions.

Alcohol consumption age

The legal drinking age in Japan is 20 years old. However, children under the age of 20 can drink alcohol in certain circumstances, such as during religious ceremonies or under parental supervision.


In conclusion, minor age in Japan refers to anyone under the age of 20. While this age is significant in terms of legal matters such as criminal responsibility and voting rights, it is also important for protecting children from abuse and ensuring their access to education. Understanding minor age laws is crucial for anyone living or working with minors in Japan.

Is 18 still a minor in Japan?

As of April 1, 2022, Japan has lowered the age of adulthood from 20 to 18, allowing young adults to independently sign contracts and take out loans for their smartphones without the need for parental consent. However, this also means that they are responsible for these decisions and their consequences.

Is 17 and 18 legal in Japan?

In the Edo period, girls were seen as adults at 13 years old and boys at 15. However, during the Meiji era in 1876, the legal age of adulthood for both genders was raised to 20. In 2015, the Japanese government made a decision to lower the adulthood age to 18, but this law won’t take effect until 2022.

Is 16 and 18 legal in Japan?

As of April 1, 2022, the legal age for women to get married in Japan was raised from 16 to 18, bringing it in line with the age for men. Previously, women were able to marry at 16 under the Civil Code, but this has now been changed.

Is 15 the legal age in Japan?

In Japan, the legal age is 20 years old, but in April 2022, the voting age was lowered to 18 years old. This means that younger adults now have access to new rights and responsibilities related to living in society.

What is US age of consent in Japan?

A panel in the justice ministry of Japan suggested increasing the age of consent from 13 to 16 years old. It is worth noting that Japan has the lowest age of consent in the Group of Seven (G7) countries and has remained the same for more than 100 years since it was first implemented. This proposal was made on February 22, 2023.

Is 17 a minor in Japan?

The age of adulthood (known as “seinen” in Japan) is defined as 20 years old according to Article 4 of Japan’s civil code, as of August 17, 2021.

Child pornography laws

Japan has strict laws against child pornography, with possession, distribution, and production of child pornography being illegal. The age of consent for participating in pornography is 18 years old, and anyone found guilty of violating these laws can face severe penalties.


In Japan, there is no legal process for minors to become emancipated from their parents before the age of 20. However, in some cases, a minor may be granted limited legal autonomy if they are deemed mature enough to make decisions on their own.

Youth delinquency prevention

The Japanese government places a strong emphasis on preventing youth delinquency through various initiatives such as after-school programs, youth centers, and counseling services. These programs aim to provide support and guidance to at-risk youth and prevent them from engaging in criminal activities.

Adoption laws

Adoption laws in Japan require that both biological parents give their consent before a child can be adopted. If one parent is deceased or cannot be located, the other parent’s consent is sufficient. The adoption process also involves a thorough screening process to ensure that the child is placed in a safe and appropriate home.

Child welfare system

Japan has a comprehensive child welfare system that provides support and services to children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. This system includes child protective services, foster care programs, and group homes for children who are unable to live with their families.

Healthcare for minors

Minors in Japan are entitled to healthcare coverage under their parent’s insurance until the age of 20. After that, they must obtain their own insurance coverage. However, there are some exceptions for low-income families or those with disabilities.

Working age

In Japan, the minimum working age is 15 years old. Children between the ages of 15 and 18 are subject to restrictions on the type of work they can do and the hours they can work. Employers are also required to provide a safe working environment for minors.


In summary, minor age laws in Japan are in place to protect children and ensure their well-being. These laws cover various aspects of a minor’s life, from education and healthcare to criminal responsibility and labor rights. Understanding these laws is essential for anyone working with or caring for minors in Japan.

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