The Legal Adult Age
From April 1, 2022, Adult age prescribed by the Civil Code will be lowered to 18 years old in Japan.
It is established in Article 4 of the current civil law “an age of 20 years old shall be deemed as an adult” and in Article 5 (1) “For a minor in order to conduct legal acts, you must obtain the consent of a legal representative”, also in Article 5 (2) “Legal acts contrary to the provisions of the preceding paragraph can be canceled”.Legal acts, such as sales contracts or lease contracts, undertaken by minors without consent of legal representative (parents or guardians) can be canceled. In this way, minors are protected by the Civil Code. Due to the revision of this civil code law as of 2022, minors between ages of 18 to 20 will not receive such protection.
This will be one of the big problems that might be caused by this change of adult age. Minors who don’t have sufficient ability to judge are easily targeted by unscrupulous business and it will cause serious damages to consumers. “Referendum law”, revising the age with voting rights to 18 years old, enacted in May 2007 was reason why this debate about lowering of adult age began. This change has the purpose of getting young people who will lead the future participate in the important decisions of Japan. Because of that, it is insufficient in the view of protection of minors’ legal acts.
Therefore, it is more important for minors to acquire knowledge about legal acts and consumer education. Beside homes and schools, society organizations and the media must also take up this issue more.