A new debate has started in Japan regarding whether the legal age of adulthood should be lowered from 20 to 18, meaning that young adults will be able to smoke, drink and of course vote from this age. However, the media response has been somewhat unfavorable for this change to take place. Remarking that although many countries in the West employ a younger age of legality, a majority of East Asian countries still consider 20 as their adulthood age.
One response has even been that 18-year-olds do not really know much about politics and therefore cannot vote and, another reason, is that with the prevalence of binge drinking among the younger generation, lowering the age limit could exacerbate this problem. However, the idea has not been raised that perhaps by lowering the voting age, more young people will take an interest in politics. Also, by any standards, Japan has a very lax system for serving alcohol and most 18 year-olds can easily walk into an izakaya and order drinks without being asked for ID. And of course, once a young adult goes to university at the age of 18, they are more than likely to go drinking anyway, regardless of the current law. Also, with the large amounts of cigarette machines around this country, it’s not exactly hard for an under-age kid to buy tobacco either.
The questions remains, why are the media so against lowering the age of adulthood?
Other posts by Anna: