Japan has implemented changes in the country’s laws with regard to the age of adulthood for the first time in over 140 years. Adulthood in Japan used to begin at the age of 20 years old but this no longer is the case as the new age of maturity is now two years earlier.
The change of adulthood age is not simple
It’s not as simple as it seems as it is only in some aspects that the 18-year-olds are considered adults, but in others, they are still deemed ineligible. For example, revised adulthood means they can make certain decisions without the consent of their parents. Decisions such as marriage, working, signing legal documents, and even obtaining a credit card. They will also be able to vote. However, the ‘new’ adults will still not be allowed to smoke tobacco or consume alcohol before the age of 20. So, in essence, they will have all the hardships of adulthood, and none of the perks.
When seen from an unbiased standpoint, it seems that the move to lower the age of adulthood in Japanfrom 20 to 18 serves only the benefits of the government and the country.
Will the change help Japan increase the population?
Japan has many issues that it is currently dealing with. Some of them being adeclining birth rateand the growing population of the elderly. If this continues Japan is likely to face an economic decline, and a shortage of military staff, doctors, nurses, engineers, and other key worker positions. The new law will allow younger couples to get married, have children, and work. Theoretically, this will ensure the country a secure future in terms of its population growth, economy, and security.
But on the other hand, the same young couple will still not be allowed to drink with friends. Nor has it been announced that the government will help the new adults financially to share with their young family burdens.
The public in general seems somewhat divided on the issue.
One 18-year-old youngster said that he expected it to happen as it was only natural to lower the age of adulthood. He went on to say that, in his eyes, 18-year-olds were already adults and should be treated as such.
However, another young person of the same age claimed that 18-year-olds are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of a marriage, a job, or sign important documents. He argued that this could lead to an uprise in unfair/slave contracts, or even fraudulent documents being signed.
There is also the danger that immature new adults may find themselves entering the adult entertainment industry as it offers a lot of money and this may be tempting to a young and unsupervised mind.
The arguments on both sides of the debate are valid. However, perhaps the fact that these laws will only burden the shoulders of the youth with the weight of responsibility but not allow them to enjoy the benefits of being an adult is where the argument rests.
It truly is unfair to demand so much from teenagers and in return offer very little. The state and government benefit but only the ones who will take the brunt of the responsibility are the generations that turn 18 from April 2022 onwards.
This change was made to help alleviate the problems Japan is facing but the question is whether this change will make a difference on the ground or not. Will the 18-year-old youth be inspired to marry, work, vote, and contribute? Or will they simply continue to live as before without paying heed to this newly implemented law?
Only time will tell.
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